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Getting Dirty on the Blue Mountains Trail

Mike Hansen uses a chainsaw to clear a log near Russel Mountain. Photo credit Pip Redding

Hiking season is well under way in the Blue Mountains. Recreators from near and far to visit Oregon every year to marvel at the rugged beauty of our peaks, canyons, lakes, rivers, and forests. Meanwhile, trail crews are taking advantage of clear weather and melting snow to improve the infrastructure of the trails that crisscross our public land and make access possible. Despite year after year increases in the number of visitors to the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla, and Malheur National Forests, agency budgets for recreation management in Northeast Oregon are insufficient to keep trails clear or mitigate potential environmental impacts.

The dock at Twin Lakes is perfect for a quick dip after a hot day. Photo credit Peggy Rollens

This July, Greater Hells Canyon Council was pleased to continue partnering with the Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association to organize and complete much needed volunteer trail maintenance along the Blue Mountains Trail in the Southern Wallowa Mountains. BMT trail coordinator, Pip Redding, and GHCC board member, Mike Beaty, joined WMHCTA director, Mike Hanson, for a week of hard work out of the Twin Lakes Campground. They helped clear nearly 300 fallen trees from the trail and reopened a derelict section of single track to BMT hikers between Russel Mountain and the Twin Lakes. Students and leaders from the Wallowa Resources HAWK program also made an appearance for an introduction to brushing tool and crosscut saw use in the wilderness.

Do you have some free time this summer or fall? Think you’re cut out for trail work?

Contact or visit to learn

more about volunteer opportunities on the Blue Mountains Trail.

A Spotted Sandpiper chick hides in the grass while it's mother tries to lure us away. Photo credit Pip redding

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