The Oregon State Park system is celebrating 100 years. Volunteers marked the occasion Wednesday by helping improve trails and controlling erosion along the banks of the Fall River in La Pine State Park.
Trout Unlimited restored 40 heavily impacted sites along the Fall River in recent years. On Wednesday, the conservation organization along with community volunteers and state parks staff closed off new user-made trails.
They spread pine needle duff and strategically placed logs and root wads to encourage hikers to stay on designated trails.
“When you recreate along a spring-fed river, you go back to the exact same places to be able to either be able to fish, or take your photographs or have your family hang out. Over time, that habitat can get worn down,” said Derek Stabb, Trout Unlimited Education Coordinator.
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This part of Fall River, about a mile downstream from the Fall River Fish Hatchery, is locally known as the tunnels because of the two pipes through which the river flows under the road.
There’s easy access here which means lots of visitors who walk all over the place unaware of the long term impacts.
“What those socially created trails do is remove or trample native vegetation which we don’t want to happen, said Oregon State Park Ranger Hannah Lewis. “So we selected the most heavily used, the safest and most accessible to our visitors and made those side trails less appealing so they can stay on the main trail.”
Volunteers also helped improve storm water drainage by digging water bars and placing logs to slow surface water flows.
“We’re creating water dips to shed the water off the trail and then we added wood to be speed bumps to slow the water down, let the water penetrate into the soil up away from the river to keep it as clean as possible.”