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Exciting news for the BMT

Happy Spring Trail Lovers! The Blue Mountains Trail has just received some exciting news that we want to share with you.

 

If you have been following the progress of the trail over the last several years, you will know that the BMT was honored to be identified among Oregon Trails Coalition’s Signature Trails Inventory. This recognition has already presented opportunities for Greater Hells Canyon Council and our partners to improve existing trail infrastructure and advance our stewardship goals. Last week, the dedication and advocacy from the folks at OTC and our U.S. Senators paid off again!


Map of Oregon Signature Trails, including the BMT
Oregon Trails Coaliton's Signature Trails Inventory Map.

The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has just passed a funding package that will, “strengthen forest health and wildfire resiliency, protect public lands and the environment, secure important programs for Tribes, and support critical projects for communities across the state.” Read the press release from Senator Merkley’s office here.

 

1.3 million dollars of this package will go directly to infrastructure improvements on three of OTC’s Signature trails in 2024. The BMT is one of the lucky few! 300,000 dollars will be added to the Umatilla National Forests FY2024 budget to restore the Wenaha River Trail. Read the OTC’s blog post here.


BMT section slated for restoration
The section to be restored lies within the Umatilla National Forest Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness west of Troy.

Trail #3106 on the Umatilla National Forest was heavily impacted by the 2015 Grizzly Bear Complex Fire. Subsequent blowdowns and regrowth of poison ivy and blackberry made this section of the Blue Mountains Trail all but impassable, requiring BMT hikers to bypass the beautiful Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness entirely or risk an unprotected crossing of the river. In recent years, the Umatilla NF has made efforts to restore the trail, replacing the footbridge at Crooked Creek and clearing several miles of blowdowns. However, perennial capacity limitations for recreation management meant that it could have been years before the trail was fully restored. Now we can expect this Wilderness section of the Blue Mountains Trail to be accessible as soon as this fall!


A view of one of the Wenaha River Trail's unaffected sections
A view of one of the Wenaha River Trail's unaffected sections

We are buzzing about this tremendous boon to our humble project. I’d like to ask you to join us in thanking Senator Merkley and his staff for the work they have done promoting this package. We have prepared this form letter for convenience. Feel free to add your own sentiments. 

As always, our work continues to make the Blue Mountains trail the best it can be. We are planning a full calendar of fun and impactful trail outings this year. Please consider becoming a member of the Greater Hells Canyon Council, making a donation, or following us on social media.



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