Recreators Heed Warnings; Leave Elk Calving Area Alone

Hikers, runners and mountain bikers paid attention to increased signage and messaging urging them to avoid a  mid-alpine spot critical for elk calving and migration, according to the Deschutes National Forest.

Every year until August 15, the Middle Flagline Trail – accessible from the Dutchman Sno-Park – is closed so elk calving can happen in the area.

The August 15th date is typically circled on the calendars of mountain bikers and other recreators looking to get away from the crowds and experience one of the region’s best trails.

“Unfortunately, in years past, hikers, runners and bikers have ignored the closure resulting in disturbance of elk cows and their young calves when they are at their most vulnerable, which reduces calving success,” said Jean Nelson-Dean, spokeswoman with the DNF.

In 2018 officials monitored the trailhead during a 10-day periods and found 111 mountain bikers and 6 runners or hikers ignored the closure.  Concerned with the impact to elk from the disturbance, Oregon Wild and the Oregon Hunter’s Association began working with the Deschutes National Forest to find solutions.

Increased signage, patrols, and education were agreed on and implemented in 2019. Other partners were enlisted to help get the messaging out to people who recreate in the area.

The efforts worked.

“With the increased educational messaging about the closure, only 8 mountain bikers and no runners or hikers ignored the closure during the same ten-day period of monitoring in 2019. The change between the two years demonstrates a 93% reduction in the number of people disturbing the calving elk,” Nelson-Dean said.

According to the Forest Service, calving grounds are used by elk for birthing and raising young, so keeping these areas closed allows cow elk to recuperate from challenging winter conditions, spring migration and giving birth. The area around Middle Flagline Trail provides many critical items for the elk such as an abundant supply of lush forbs, grasses and shrubs as well as water from the Bridge Creek watershed and scattered meadows.


In addition, the area is more secluded than other areas due to a lack of roads and provides quiet, hiding cover and shade for the elk.

Increased energy expenditures from running away from people and being forced into lower quality habitat can affect body condition, survival, and ultimately survival of elk calves. Concentrating elk in smaller areas can cause increased stress, disease transmission, susceptibility to predation, and over-use of forage plants.

The partners in the educational effort include Bend Trails, Central Oregon Trail Alliance, Deschutes Trails Coalition, Mt. Bachelor, Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon Wild, Visit Bend and the Deschutes National Forest. The partners will continue their efforts to increase the public’s understanding of the importance of the closure and the impact disturbance has on the elk cows and calves to maintain the important elk habitat into the future.

All the partners want to thank the community for responding positively to the closure and helping to balance the needs of local wildlife with their recreation.

Missing Hiker’s Body Recovered on Mt. Jefferson After 3 Years

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say the body of a 21-year-old man has been recovered on Mount Jefferson more than three years after he was reported missing.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that Riley Zickel was reported missing on July 30, 2016 after not returning from the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area where he had been on an overnight hike.

At the time, the sheriff’s office says hundreds of people covered over 350 miles searching for him.

About three weeks ago the sheriff’s office was contacted by climbers who believed they had located Zickel’s body in a glacial area above Jefferson Park.

The sheriff’s office says the area is extremely steep with loose rocks and rock avalanches.

County Search and Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, the Civil Air Patrol, and the United States Forest Service planned the recovery mission which happened Tuesday.

Crews Rescue Injured Hiker at Smith Rock State Park

A 56-year-old Connecticut woman needed to be rescued Thursday from the Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park after falling and injuring herself while hiking.

Another hiker called dispatch at 10:39 a.m. to report Dorothy Jankowski of Wilton, Conn., had suffered non life-threatening injuries and needed help getting back down the trail. Jankowski and her husband, Peter, were on the trail where it overlooks Monkey Face according to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Bryan Husband.

Redmond Fire Department personnel were the first to arrive at the scene at 11:24 a.m. One Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and nine DCSO Search and Rescue Volunteers also responded to help. She was stabilized and loaded on to a wheeled litter for the trek down the back side of Misery Ridge and across the Crooked River. She was then taken to St. Charles in Redmond for treatment.


Taste This! – Food for the Sole

In this week’s Taste This culinary adventure, Donna Britt samples ‘adventure food in a bag’ and finds out why Food for the Sole meals taste so good!

Julie and Henry from Food for the Sole tell their story and share their delicious adventure foods. You can order online at

A special thanks to Newport Avenue Market. They give us the resources to take these weekly culinary adventures. Life is short!! Eat good food! And have fun doing it!

Wilderness Area Permits Planned for 2020

Day permit systems will go into effect during the summer of 2020 at seven trail heads at Mount Jefferson, two trail heads at Mount Washington and 10 trail heads at Three Sisters. More information about how to purchase these passes will be available in the near future.

New Permit System for Three Popular Wilderness Areas

Due to the sharp increase in people hiking and camping in the Three Sisters, Mt Washington and Mt Jefferson Wilderness areas the Forest Service is implementing a new permit system in 2020.

Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel has more on how this new system could effect both visiting and local hikers.