Trailheads are Busy...
Each of us has our own special reason for being in the forest. You may be looking for an adrenaline rush or a quiet space to yourself. You may enjoy visiting with neighbors and friends or working your body long and hard to get to a beautiful vista. All of them are equally meaningful, and all are welcome on the OSU Research Forests.
Forest use has been growing (48% increase in number of visitors and number of visits between 2009 and 2017!), and is expected to continue to do so into the future. During busy times, community enthusiasm for the outdoors sometimes shows itself as parking congestion at trailhead access points, especially at Oak Creek and Lewisburg Saddle. Our ability to provide more parking is limited by several factors, and the Forest will never be able to provide enough parking space for all of the demand we expect to see in the future.
With this in mind, we recently developed a strategy to support alternative ways for people to get to trailheads with input from visitors, community members, and partnering agencies and organizations. Read more to learn about the components of the strategy, the history and future of this process, and most importantly, what you can do to help.
We need your help in setting a cultural standard for getting visitors to trailheads with fewer vehicles to protect free and open access to the Forests into the future. Your active participation counts. You have the ability to manage your own use in a way that promotes positive relationships with other users and community members, and promotes access for all groups.
Instead of Driving your Car, Consider...
Interested in learning more about how you can be part of the solution? Check out these useful tips for joining the movement!
- Plan before you go: check out the Oak Creek Webcam and Current Activities for parking closures.
- Ride a bike, run, or walk: extend your adventure if you live close to the trailhead, or bike from town if you're comfortable. Bike racks are available for use at Oak Creek, Lewisburg Saddle, and Peavy Arboretum.
- Carpool with friends: if you plan to meet up at the trailhead with friends, meet up at a central location instead and carpool. Midge Cramer parking (at the Fairgrounds) and MLK Park are great options.
- Drive safely, slowly and courteously: trailheads are accessed through neighborhoods where people and wildlife live. Look out for cars pulling out of driveways and bikes, horses, pedestrians, kids and pets in the roadway.
- Be aware and courteous at trailheads: park only within designated parking slots and do not park in the neighborhoods or places marked no parking. If a parking lot is full, you'll need to find another place to visit.
- Visit during off-peak times: weekdays during work hours and early mornings on weekends are great times to avoid the crowds. Please note Forest hours are 5a.m. to 9p.m.
- Park horse trailers only where there is plenty of room: Lewisburg Saddle pullout (north of two passenger vehicle lots), Baker Creek/Sulphur Springs Trailhead, and Peavy Arboretum Intensive Management Parking Area.
More About Alternative Trailhead Transportation
Learn here about the development of the Alternative Transportation Strategy: why we are doing it, who was involved, and how and why action items were selected. Then take a quick look at the strategies developed to address congestion and provide access by our community effort here!
It’s really important to us that everyone feel welcome at Oak Creek and throughout the Forests, so please contact us if you have questions or concerns.