Beauty Unlocked: New Trails Around Corvallis

Construction of the community-supported boardwalk on Amy’s Trail.

On top of many a Corvallisite’s list of reasons why they love living here, is the access to the outdoors that this community fosters. Spending time in natural environments gives us much-needed space away from everyday stressors, the opportunity to strengthen our bodies, a social outlet, and an occasion to learn about the more-than-human world living alongside us. In the last two years, and especially in 2018, many exciting trail-building projects reached their fruition to further these experiences so important to our well-being and sense of place. Below is a gathering of just some of the new paths you may take in all your gandering glory.

New Trails in McDonald Research Forest

Vineyard Mountain Trail
Beginning in March 2015, this 1.8-mile trail was built both by improving previous unauthorized trail segments and by adding completely new segments to connect the Lewisburg Saddle trailhead to the 1,453-foot local high point of Vineyard Mountain. Community volunteers, including those who enjoy hiking, running, horseback riding, and mountain biking through the existing trail system, lent a total of 1,200 hours of their time to see this deed done in April of 2017. In addition, Northwest Youth Corps members contributed to the cause through a sponsoring Recreational Trails Grant (RTP), which was given by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Dave’s Trail
Getting it’s going in October 2015; 1,500 volunteer hours are to credit for the completion of this 2.5-mile trail in May 2018. Dave’s connects its new neighbor, the Vineyard Mountain Trail, to the Peavy Arboretum complex. Similar to Vineyard, Northwest Youth Corps members can also be credited under an RTP grant, and a mixture of old unauthorized trails and brand spanking new segments were utilized. Notable of the prior was the replacement of High-Low trail, which connected forest roads 500 and 580, but was negatively impacted a long-term research plot.

No Secret Trail
Near the 2,178-foot summit of McCulloch Peak, No Secret is a mountain-bike specific trail whose development began in August of 2015 and wrapped up in June of 2018. Following a timber harvest in 2014, the dream of building this trail was spurred when the previous unauthorized trail, Top Secret, was reclaimed. The local International Mountain Bicycling Association chapter, Team Dirt, lead the trail-building efforts with the help of 2,500 community volunteer hours.

Note that the popular McDonald Forest trailheads of Oak Creek and Lewisburg Saddle are often victims of prohibited parking practices that cause congestion controversies. It is encouraged to utilize Peavy Arboretum’s more expansive parking area to access trails during the peak after-work and weekend hours, or to carpool or use alternative transportation to the busier access points. All McDonald Forest trails listed can be seen on a map at, http://cf.forestry.oregonstate.edu/osu-research-forests-maps

Connecting Fitton Green Natural Area to Crestmont Land Trust

Amy’s Trail
The concept of a link between the 1.8-mile trail network of Fitton Green Natural Area to the three miles within Crestmont Land Trust began in 2017, with the conception of the exact route realized in early 2018, building occurring during October and November, and a public opening checked off on the first of December. About one-third of a mile, Amy’s couldn’t have been completed without a bequest from its namesake, Amy Schoener, to the Audobon Society of Corvallis. Schoener, who passed away in 2016, ran neighboring Cloudrun Farm in Wren, while also serving on the board of the Audobon Society of Corvallis, the Benton County Planning Commission, Willamette Riverkeepers, and the Marys River Watershed Council. In addition, the support of local businesses for supplies was vital. For example, Woodcastle, located off of Highway 34 east of Corvallis, processed oak trees – felled on site as part of a restoration effort – for use as treads on a boardwalked section of the trail.

Map available at the entrance to Crestmont Land Trust.

New Developments in the Corvallis to the Sea Trail

The oldest in the bunch, the C2C Partnership has held monthly meetings since March of 2003 to work towards the dream of a walking path the entire way between Corvallis and the coast. The eastern half of the trail saw its construction completed in 2016, with signs and maps created and distributed the following year. 25 miles remain to be constructed, with hopes of completion in 2019 for use by 2020. Meanwhile, all should be proud of the whopping 39,000 hours hearty volunteers have spent in trail route exploration, trail maintenance, and in public outreach to encourage others to work towards this goal. The eastern half of the trail is a mix of bike paths, highway shoulders, country roads, logging roads and dirt trails. Beginning in downtown Corvallis at the confluence of the Marys River with the Willamette, it reaches its end at the Big Elk Campground in Harlan, passing through private land, Starker Forests, and Siuslaw National Forest along the way. In contrast, the western section is set to be almost entirely within the National Forest.

To see this regional connector virtually, maps are available at: http://www.c2ctrail.org

By Ari Blatt