North Fork John Day Ranger District Brendan Quirk, Project Leader SCA Conservation Corps P.O. Box 158 Ukiah, OR 97880 C: 208.631.7447 firstname.lastname@example.org May 23 - August 17, 2011
Our second hitch took place at the other end of the Crane Creek trail. Our first day, we were packed in by TJ and Rick to our basecamp (Thanks guys!) located at the intersection of the North Fork of the John Day River and Crane Creek. I think the crew would all agree that this was our most beautiful basecamp to date. The crew promptly set up their tents in a field by the river so they could be lulled to sleep and gently pulled back into consciousness by the sounds of rushing water. The views across the North Fork were incredible and star gazing could not have been much better.
Our goal for the hitch was to open the Crane Creek trail to equestrian traffic. By accomplishing that goal, the North Fork of the John Day Wilderness Area would have a complete trail loop from the North Fork of the John Day campground to the Crane Creek campground. Hitch 3 was devoted to rehabilitating fords necessary for pack animals. Hitch four would be mostly devoted to brushing and log-out through the most dense forest sections we have worked on all summer. However, we started the hitch with 2 large tread projects. TJ stayed overnight with us the first night and was a great help in planning out and cutting a 280' trail-reallignment made necessary by the floods last Fall. A 500' section of steep, dusty trail also needed a new bench cut. We also discovered a severely gullied out and wet section of trail that needed a turnpike. Conveniently enough, there was a large pile of small river rocks only 30' away so we made quick work of bumping the trail up above water level.
After those projects were complete, we started brushing. The two main tasks were removing downed trees with Betsy, our bucking crosscut saw, and cutting down "pack knockers", or trees that are close enough to the trail that they hit and possibly damage packs attached to pack animals. TJ left us with 3 "Japanese Saws" that became indispensible. Some members of the crew are thinking of buying their own.
By the numbers, our work from Hitch 4 adds up to:
New Trail Construction: 280'
Trail Maintained: 400'
Trail Rehabilitated: 1210'
Rock Turnpike: 50'
Drain Dips: 1
Cross Cuts/log-outs: 18 logs
Heavy Brushing: 2.5 miles