Sometimes I wonder this myself. It’s farther than the Gorge. It’s a little lawless in places. It’s logged over pretty hard. There are roads all over. There are no glaciated rocky spires for camera and ice ax conquests.
Well, there is something about a quiet day on a forgotten trail in forgotten places full of beauty and history natural and otherwise that just can’t be duplicated on highway trails. In Clackamas country a trail can become personal. Particularly if you spend some time picking it up. And there are always new discoveries yet to be made. The country is so vast and full of dynamic changes, growth, and time one could never experience it all.
As hikers beat up the same three trails close to town and leave others to fade away the Forest Service will no longer be able justify maintaining trails little used. They will give attention to the first mile or two of the highway trails which get the heaviest use at the expense of the less travelled. And they are justified in doing so if people do not use the more distant or less dramatic trails.
Admittedly, remote or lesser used trails are not appropriate for many people. But for some they may be the cat’s meow — if they knew about them. Hence this site. Know them, love them.
It is unlikely the Forest Service will fund trails like they have in the past. Trails are no longer essential to forest management. In fact, in these political times, the Forest Service is being cut so deeply that any trail work not achieved by volunteers could become a thing of the past. Trails are very expensive to build and represent a substantial investment. Time, erosion, and plant growth quickly re-claim most trails once they are forgotten. To protect and preserve what remains (about 10%) of the mid-20th Century trail system, there is little time to lose, but many rewards to be gained.
Trails are our Heritage in the woods. The Histories of all Oregon’s peoples have been spoken by them for the last 8,000 years. As humans, our most primary relationship with the woods is and will always be walking the beaten path.
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