Current Activities

Posted 1/30/2018  Alternative Trailhead Transportation Strategy

We are pleased to share with you the results of a community effort to develop a strategy to address issues related to vehicular use on access roads and at trailheads.  This strategy was developed to address current issues including safety, congestion, and access while also developing tools to make it easier for visitors to access the forest without their car.  

Alternative Trailhead Transportation Strategy

Posted 1/30/2018 Upcoming Changes to Oak Creek Trailhead Parking

Starting in March 2018, bollards will be placed on NW Oak Creek Dr. to physically prohibit unsafe parking that often occurs there during busy times.  This parking restriction will assure the road is kept open for access by recreation, administrative, and emergency traffic, and reduce the potential for accidents. These parking restrictions are a Condition of Approval from the 2017 Conditional Use Permit the OSU Research Forests received from Benton County Planning Commission to allow further development of Forest trails.  

The restrictions will not reduce parking in the main parking area at Oak Creek.  On very busy days, cars sometimes stretch south of the county maintenance sign (south of the buildings) along NW Oak Creek Drive, and some vehicles park with one wheel almost in the ditch and the other out into the lane of traffic.  The bollards will be placed along this section of road to keep the lane of traffic open during very busy times, but the main parking area will remain open for use.  

During busy times, parking spaces will be in high demand at Oak Creek, and it is expected that there will not be space for everyone to park.  We plan to have a webcam available in April for visitors to use in planning their trip.  In the meantime, if parking is full at the trailhead, please find another location for your adventure.  FYI, parking is not permitted along NW Oak Creek Drive, or on neighboring properties, including the Audubon Center. Check out the new bike racks installed at Oak Creek Trailhead for your use!  

The Oak Creek parking area will be closed for a brief time this summer, as contractors re-surface the parking area, paint lines to indicate parking spaces, and install a turn-around.  During re-paving and painting this summer, parking areas will be clarified for safety, including the currently unmarked parking between the buildings.  This project is not expected to increase parking capacity at the site.  These improvements will result in a safer, more user-friendly parking experience.  

Posted 11/22/2017  Road Work in Oak Creek Area (600 and 700 Road Systems) Starting Monday, 11/27/2017

Starting on Monday 11/27/2017, and lasting throughout the week, a crew will be grading the roads used as part of the Quick Draw harvest in the Oak Creek area.  A grader and rock truck will work together to add rock and smooth Roads 600 (between Oak Creek parking area to 6021), 680, 682, 700, and 710.  After completion of the Oak Creek area, the grader will move to part of the 500 Road system and the Dunn 400 Road system, later in the week or the following week.  Please be prepared to yield right-of-way to the large machinery and to experience some wait times on your visits to this area.  

Posted 10/31/2017  Seasonal Trail Closures in Effect Starting 11/1/2017-4/14/2018

As the rains start back up, please be aware that the use of trails is not allowed when travel will result in leaving a track in the mud, or when there is significant standing water on the trail.  This is especially important for natural surface trails such as Daves's Trail, Vineyard Mountain Trail, and Beautiul Trail.  If trail damage occurs during winter months, seasonal restrictions may be considered.    

Starting Wednesday 11/1/2017, and running through 4/14/2018, the following trails will be open to foot traffic only: Calloway Creek Trail, Extendo Trail, and Intensive Management Trail.  

Please help us protect our trails - and honor the efforts of our volunteers - by using trails responsibly in wet weather!  

Updated 10/23/2017  Harvest Area Herbicide Applications Starting Tuesday, 10/24/2017

Contractor availability and weather forecasts are lining up, and fall herbicide spray on the McDonald and Dunn Forests will be starting Tuesday, 10/24/2017.  Operations will start on the 510/514 Roads, and then move throughout the two forests until complete.  Completion date will depend on weather conditions and contractor availability. All units on the McDonald and Dunn Forests will be sprayed by ground application utilizing backpack sprayers.  

During application, staff will be positioned at roads and official trails leading into spray areas to keep people away.  Chemical labelling also requires closure of an area to general use until the applied chemical has dried.  The date of application, the name of the chemical used and the industrial re-entry interval will be written on the signs posted at entry points into each herbicide application area. These signs will remain in place for one week.

This herbicide application is intended to control the growth of non-native species and competing vegetation in units harvested in past years, as well as to prepare units scheduled for harvest in 2018.

View a map of herbicide application areas here.

Posted 10/23/2017  Harvest Operations Mostly Complete - Road Work Remains
Harvest operations have concluded on the McDonald Forest, and visitors are free to use the area!  Please be aware that closures remain in place at the Student Logging Training Program site on the Dunn Forest, and that other forest management operations such as herbicide application and pile burning are currently underway or planned for the near future.  Also, please be aware that road work remains to be completed at each of the recent harvest areas.  

Thank you for your continued patience, and enjoy the fall weather!

Posted 10/17/2017  Slash Burning on McDonald and Dunn Forests Starting 10/18/2017

Starting Wednesday, 10/18/2017, OSU Research Forests will be burning piles of slash in recent harvest areas throughout the McDonald and Dunn Forests.  Burning will start on Roads 510 and 514 on 10/18/2017, and will move throughout the forest from there.  Timing of burning is dependent on Oregon Department of Forestry approval, and is determined based on weather conditions.  While there are only approximately 10-12 days worth of burning work on the McDonald and Dunn Forests, those days could be spread out over the next two months.  No road or trail closures are anticipated.  

Updated 9/6/2017  OSU Research Forests Conditional Use Permit Application Granted by Benton County Planning Comission

The OSU Research Forests applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) with the Benton County Planning Commission in July-September, 2017.  Most of McDonald Forest and the portion of Dunn Forest that is within Benton County are zoned for Forest Conservation. While some activities are automatically allowed in the Forest Conservation Zone (timber harvest, forest road construction, herbicide use, etc.), recreation uses and facilities require Conditional Use Permit review and approval by the Benton County Planning Commission.  The application was approved with revised "Conditions for Approval" at a Benton County Planning Commission deliberation session on 9/5/2017.  For more information, see our Recreation Planning webpage.

Special Newsletter Edition: Conditional Use Permit

Posted 8/17/2017  Bells for Bikes Pilot Test at Oak Creek

In an effort to make our trails safer and more enjoyable for every type of user, the OSU Research Forests, in partnership with Peak Sports, are ringing in something new. Bells will be available at the Oak Creek trailhead for mountain bikers to borrow for their trail ride. These bells will easily attach to the riders’ handlebars or saddle and will provide an easy way to alert other forest users that a bike is approaching. Visitors will simply take a bell out of the bell box at the beginning of their ride and return it when they’re done. If you would like your own personal bell, they are available for purchase at Peak Sports. 

This pilot test, running from August 17, 2017 – October 31, 2017, is hopefully just the beginning of improving enjoyment for every type of trail user that comes to our forest. If you use or encounter these bells on the trails, go ahead and fill out this survey in order to provide us with feedback and make improvements before we fully implement this program at other trailheads in the Research Forests. 

Road Work

Intermittent road maintenence activities occur on the OSU Research Forests.  Please yield to the trucks.  Use extreme caution when approaching operating equipment and only pass when given the OK.

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