|Dave Schuldt and Peter Partel|
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance received funding from the NFF Matching Awards Program for 2012 projects—including replacing the bridge at Deep Creek. Stacy Karacostas, Communication and Membership Director of Evergreen MTB recaps an impressive day of trail work on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest as told to her by Graham Turnage, Evergreen’s Backcountry Trails Crew Lead.
Five of us met at the trailhead with light snow falling on a chilly Saturday morning in October – four hardy volunteers and me, the Backcountry Trails Crew Lead from Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The goal? Replace the old, rotting trail bridge over Deep Creek, located on the White River Trail off HWY 410 near Crystal Mountain on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
The bridge replacement process had actually been started the previous year with the first of the stringer logs being cut and laid near the old bridge. Now it was time to get the new bridge finished… No easy task.
So we quickly walked the short distance to the old bridge with our tools. Then we gathered ‘round to formulate a plan as plumes of crystallized breath floated white through the air.
Peeling the new sill logs for the ends and 30 foot long stringers to span the creek was hard work but relatively simple. The tricky part was rigging a highline cable system to "fly" the new, peeled cedar parts into place, and "fly" the old bridge pieces away. Thankfully we had a ringer on our team - Art Truftee.
Art is a wizard at setting up highlines and using cables to make heavy work light. It’s pretty darned impressive watching a couple hundred pound log zoom through the air to its new home across the creek. Especially when the alternative is to hand carry it through the woods!
Cedar decking had already been delivered by the Forest Service. So once we had the stringers in place, all that was needed was a little fine tuning for leveling purposes and we were ready to install the decking. Viola, a bridge is born!
Just in time too…The old bridge was so rotten it wouldn’t have survived the winter snows! That also made tearing it out a breeze. Then we just had to make sure the new bridge was bedded with rock where it met the earth and tamped into place for a solid foundation.
Huge thanks go out to the intrepid volunteers who gave up their days off in the name of better trails: Art Truftee, Len Francis, Dave Shuldt and Peter Partel. All it took was a weekend of camping in the snow, drinking and eating at the local pub, and sharing energy, experience, random skills, and lots of laughs to make a big difference on a popular trail used by hikers and mountain bikers alike!
The nonprofit Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, the largest mountain biking organization in Washington State, coordinates more than 100 other single and multi-day trail work parties around the state each year. In 2011 Evergreen partnered with public land managers to provide more than 7000 hours of volunteer trail work.
To learn more about Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance visit http://evergreentmtb.org
|(photo by Emily Smith)|
The Mendocino National Forest of Northern California offers marvelous vistas and numerous opportunities for recreation. The Mendocino boasts that it is the only National Forest in California without a major paved road winding through it, which allows for a distinct feeling of solitude and peace.
Among this massive and majestic landscape, there is a balance of different activities available for people with myriad interests. From boating and fishing to hiking and cross-country skiing, everyone can find a way to enjoy the Mendocino. There are also two satellite locations maintained by the Forest Service, the Genetic Resource and Conservation Center located in Chico, CA, and the Red Bluff Recreation Area in Red Bluff, CA.
As an intern for the Student Conservation Association working with the U.S. Forest Service to conduct visitor land use surveys, I have a wonderful opportunity to see a lot of the forest and meet many people who work in it over the span of a year. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve grabbed my camera and attempted to capture the flora and fauna of the forest. At one point I was lucky enough to view fog roll into a valley of the forest at sunset. I may or may not have rhapsodized a little bit about how the tops of the hills peeked up above the cloudy haze, comparing it to that satisfying feeling that comes with being taller than someone who’s trying to intimidate you. The landscape is a refreshing change from my Midwestern background. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good horizon, but the rolling scenery of the Mendocino is incredibly more satisfying.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Mendocino National Forest, I highly recommend it. Essentially any outdoor activity you can think of is most likely available there, and if you are very lucky you may meet me conducting land use surveys throughout the year!
Did you get the chance to read the backcountry skiing article in Your National Forests yet? If you’re planning a trip into the backcountry, be sure to check avalanche conditions and learn proper backcountry winter travel techniques. Check out this short blog below from February 2011 on some very BASIC avalanche awareness techniques. We also encourage you to check out www.fsavalanche.org for additional information and resources on avalanches. Have fun and be safe!!!
This blog was originally posted February 1, 2011.
As avalanche warnings begin to appear across the West, it’s a perfect time to start a discussion about snow safety and how we can strive to be smart and informed outdoors enthusiasts on our National Forests this winter season.
Traveling at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, avalanches are truly a force of nature. Of the three main types of avalanches, slab avalanches are the most deadly. These slides typically occur when a harder layer of snow settles on top of a softer, weaker layer; as the name suggests, a slab of snow breaks free from the layers beneath it and slides down the mountainside. The majority of these avalanches are caused by backcountry users making their way through terrain that is unsafe, so knowledge of conditions and warning signs are essential to safe winter adventures. Here are some simple guidelines:
Slope:One of the simplest ways to find out if you’re in avalanche country is by measuring the slope of the terrain you’ll be exploring. This can easily be done with a slope meter, compass or clinometer, essential tools for the winter backcountry user. As a rule avalanches don’t usually occur on slopes lower than 30 degrees
Snowpack: Keep this in mind: even if the mountain you are eyeing is steep enough to avalanche, slides will only occur if the snowpack is also unstable. So, when you know for sure that conditions are safe – go for it, shred that mountain! But, if you have any doubt, save it for another day. What makes for unstable conditions? Snow is least stable right after a storm; heavy precipitation, whether it is rain or snow, adds weight to the snowpack and often creates dangerous layers of snow that could easily slide. Wind can also create unstable conditions by picking up snow and then depositing it elsewhere, also adding weight to the snowpack. Temperature wise, rapid warming can cause snow to creep or glide downhill, causing instability.
Staying Safe:There are many ways you can stay safe this winter recreation season – from checking weather and avalanche reports for your backcountry destination to learning to check snow stability and look for “red flag” warning signs. Luckily for all of us that want to venture outside this winter, the Forest Service National Avalanche Center has a great site on the web, full of important and relevant resources for skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers and snowmobilers. Check out the "A Day in Avalanche Country" section for a step by step guide to playing it safe in the backcountry.
Winter mountains are imposing and seductive. Their snowy slopes draw us from the cozy warmth of our homes into the chilling beauty of the backcountry. Stay informed and aware this season. Take an avalanche class, wear a beacon. And then when you’re properly prepared, give in to temptation and get outside already!