Keepers of the Trails
Visitors to Milo McIver State Park may have noticed groups of volunteers working on the park's trail system.
During recent years, Trailkeepers of Oregon has completed several projects at the state park in Estacada, including work on the Maple Ridge Trail and building the Viewpoint Trail and a second unnamed trail.
Trailkeepers of Oregon is involved with a variety of conservation projects in the Portland Metro Area, Columbia River Gorge and Oregon Coast, among other locations across the state. In 2018, 1,794 volunteers from the nonprofit group cared for 138,219 feet of trails.
Those involved with the organization noted that their work has expanded in recent years.
"We work quite a bit on the north and central (Oregon) coast, and we're branching out," said Elaine Keavney, a member of Trailkeepers of Oregon's Board of Directors. "We have two week-long trail parties planned in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and we had our first work party at Silver Falls."
Trailkeepers of Oregon strive to maintain and restore established trails, build new ones and promote stewardship and education.
"Everyone is a steward, really," Keavney said. "Preserving the environment that is the trails helps the trails be for everyone."
Keavney noted that the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge led more volunteers to participate with the group.
"There was so much interest in Gorge recovery," she said. "The fire, as bad as it was, really put us on the map."
In the Estacada area, Trailkeepers volunteers work on projects yearound. Much of the organization's recent work at Milo McIver has focused on the Maple Ridge Trail, located near the park's E parking lot. Volunteers have completed realignments to the trail to reduce the amount of mud that accumulates. They also built a 100-foot turnpike with logs and gravel to raise another section of the trail to achieve the same goal.
Trailkeepers completed the park's Viewpoint Trail in 2017, and an unnamed trail that runs parallel with sections of the Viewpoint Trail in 2018.
Keavney appreciates what these elements of the park offer to visitors.
"They (offer) a beautiful view of the river and mountain," she said.
Along with projects at Milo McIver State Park, Trailkeepers of Oregon volunteers have also been busy working on the Clackamas River Trail in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Earlier this year, they improved the trail's tread and filled in several holes along the path. Last fall, they improved the trail crossing at Pup Creek Falls.
The Trailkeepers determine their next projects through a collaborative process.
"Most of it comes from conversations with land managers," Keavney said. "We build relationships with the rangers at McIver and the Clackamas River Ranger District. They see us as stewards. Every year, we scout the trails and talk to land managers."
Keavney noted that she is particularly proud of the new trails that they built.
"All of them were such big projects . . . It was satisfying to see them come to fruition," she said. "The Viewpoint Trail was the first trail we designed from scratch. It's such a beautiful trail. We've very happy with it. It's used a lot, and it's held up."
She appreciates working on trails, particularly at Milo McIver State Park.
"McIver is this little hidden gem," she said.
Take a Hike
Trailkeepers of Oregon has built or helped maintain several trails in the Estacada area. Here are a few to explore this summer.
Viewpoint Trail: This trail, a part of the Riverbend Loop Hike at Milo McIver State Park, was constructed in 2017. It begins at the McIver Memorial Viewpoint Trailhead. Oregonhikers.org notes that depending on which route is taken, the hike spans between 3.4 and 5.3 miles in length.
Clackamas River Trail: This trail begins at Fish Creek Trailhead and ends eight miles later at Indian Henry Trailhead. Tucked away in the trees of the Mt. Hood National Forest, the hike offers views of Pup Creek Falls.
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