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Willamette Tier Stewardship Campout 2019 - Bunchgrass Backcountry

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June 21-23
Oakridge, OR
Willamette National Forest

For our stewardship commitment in the Willamette Tier, we return to iconic Bunchgrass Ridge. Sunny meadows, giant stands of old growth forest, and lots of hard work await us there. But this year we will be partnering with the Backcountry Horsemen and venturing even deeper into this remote roadless area. Unlike our typical stewardship campouts, this event is far from your vehicle. We will ride and hike several miles while the Backcountry Horsemen transport our gear, tools, and water to our ridge-top backcountry campsite.


Bunchgrass Ridge trail follows an inspiring and majestic series of high ridges descending from the summit of Mt. Fuji all the way to the city limits of Oakridge. It's a hard ride in that direction even with the stunning elevation loss, and because of its remoteness and difficulty often does not receive the level of maintenance it deserves. Read about last year's Bunchgrass Stewardship Campout here.  

WARNING - Because of the backcountry nature of this event, we ask that you be physically able to travel under your own power on rugged, steep trails for ~5 miles. We also ask that you are experienced with dispersed camping, backcountry safety, and Leave No Trace principles. Equestrians will be carrying group kitchen equipment, some food, some water, and tools to basecamp. They are also are offering to help carry your camping gear. It must be in a duffle bag no larger than 50L and less than 50 pounds and labeled with your name. This collaboration with equestrians will be a rewarding and educational one. Bikes and horses can coexist on trails just fine, and we want your help being a good trail ambassador and steward no matter what your vehicle of preference is.

HORSES - Are beautiful, hard working animals. They’re also a prey animal, quite large, and sometimes can spook easily. Watch this video to give you a primer on how to share the trail with these animals.

NO TRAILWORK EXPERIENCE REQUIRED - That's right, we just need a smile, a pair of gloves, and a good attitude from you. Our goals for this 3-day event will be focused primarily on mitigating eroded trail tread and clearing undergrowth along trail edges. If you're interested in boosting your trail building skills check out our Backcountry Builder Course on April 27-28.

SCHEDULE - We'll set up base camp on Thursday evening, and plan on beginning work after breakfast on Friday morning. Expect to put in a solid 8 hours of trail work on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will be a partial day—leaving some time for a group ride after an early lunch. 

Friday, June 21st 
Trail work: 9am - 5pm
Group meal: 6pm

Saturday, June 22nd 
Trail work: 9am - 5pm
Group meal: 6pm

Sunday, June 23rd
Trail work: 9am - 11:30am
Group ride: 12:30pm - 3:30pm

GETTING THERE - Our parking/staging area will be near ‘Eagle Camp’—the turnaround area we used for our basecamp in 2017. Leaving Oakridge, take Hwy 58 14.5 miles east and turn left on Eagle Creek Road (NF5883) immediately after you pass under a railroad trestle. Follow this road for a slow 6.5 miles and veer left on NF379. You should soon see other vehicles parked on the roadside. (Since horse trailers will need room to maneuver, please park along the roadway, not in the clearing.) Driving directions from Portland are here. There is no cell service so please carry paper maps with you.

LOGISTICS - We're camping high in the Oregon Cascades in late spring. Weather will may be hot during the day or it may be cold and raining. Mosquitos are an almost guarantee. There is no cell service. There is no potable water.  

Our partners at Base Camp Brewing and Stumptown Coffee have generously supplied us with coffee and beer. Nearest fuel and services are 50 minutes away in Oakridge, Oregon. 

MEALS - The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance has committed to rewarding our hard working volunteers with breakfasts and dinners for most of the weekend. We will provide dinner on Friday and Saturday and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. You are responsible for your own plate/bowl/silverware and other meals and lunches each day. 

YOU SHOULD BRING - Tent, sleeping bag, pad, extra toilet paper, lots of water, cooking gear, and lunches. During the work day Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required to work on public lands; this includes a 6-point suspension helmet (some loaners provided), eye protection, gloves, long pants, long sleeve shirt, and sturdy shoes/boots.  If you have a saw helmet with mesh face shield, please bring it as they can come in very handy when brushing. Bring a pack, with water, snacks, mosquito repellent, and sunscreen each day as well. If you have a large pack or BOB trailer, consider bringing it as the trails are steep and rugged and getting tools to where they're needed will be a challenge. And don't forget your bike riding gear—we'll make sure there's some time to ride if you're not too exhausted at the end of the day.

WEATHER - Temperatures can be very hot during the day and shade is hard to come by on the ridge top. Manage your body temp by taking frequent breaks, hydrating, and keeping your skin covered. A shirt or bandana soaked in water does wonders. Conditions could also be quite cold and wet. Keep an eye on the forecast the days prior and prepare accordingly. 

This is going to be a fun event working, camping, and riding through some high-cascade trails. We're excited and grateful that you're spending a valuable summer weekend giving back to our public lands. On behalf of the Oregon Timber Trail Alliance and the Willamette National Forest a huge thanks goes out to everyone lending a hand at this stewardship event.