You may not have heard the trees fall in the forest, but they did.
Downed trees, branches and other obstructions are appearing on a large number of trails in Douglas County thanks to February’s snow storms.
The Bureau of Land Management Roseburg District issued a statement Monday advising the public to be cautious on trails. Umpqua National Forest Public Affairs Officer Mark Turney echoed that statement Tuesday.
People who wish to go hiking, biking and horseback riding are advised to check on current conditions. BLM officials also noted that the Tioga segment of the North Umpqua Trail is not recommended for mountain bikers and horseback riders at this time.
The Motley Crew, a crew of retired U.S. Forest Service workers, has been trying to help clear part of the North Umpqua Trail.
Crew leader Jim Talburt said the crew started working at Steamboat and has been working on the Mott section of the trails.
“We took two saws, a 36-inch and 48-inch bar, and we took 4 quarts of gasoline and were only able to clean 1.8 miles of trail,” Talburt said. “Normally, we do 5 miles and we don’t run out of gas. It’s going to take two or three days to clear that section.”
The Motley Crew goes out every Thursday, with about 10 people, and Talburt estimated it would take about two more weeks for them to clear the trail.
“Just looking across the river you can see big messes,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to break into two crews and we might get it done.”
Turney said the United States Forest Service did a flyover last week to look for large areas of downed trees.
“Right now, we’re still very much trying to assess how much downed wood we have out there, how much damage has been done to our roadways and our trails,” he said. “One of the things that was mentioned was that they didn’t see any large sections of downed trees. There were definitely downed trees, but there weren’t any big huge, acreage of downed trees.”
The forest service has started to do some clean-up work on the North Umpqua corridor as well as clearance operations in the Cottage Grove district.
“Right now what we’re doing is we’re looking at, getting out into the forest on the roads and try to assess the overall damage and impact ourselves. Because we just don’t know,” Turney said.