Restoration Work in West Bend near Phil's Trail Area
Popular mountain biking trails will now be open during the week
You may have noticed some activity in the forests west of Bend. Restoration work (thinning, mowing, and prescribed burning) near the Phil's Trail area aims to put the forest on a trajectory to grow healthier trees, improve wildlife habitat, and reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire. In order to keep bikers, hikers, dogs, kids and logging operators safe, some trails are temporarily closed while this important work is being done.
Update April 17, 2017
As more recreationists return to trails this spring, we'd like to remind everyone that forest restoration work including commercial thinning and mowing (mastication) continues within West Bend Project area west of Bend. The area generally between Cascade Lakes Highway, Storm King Trail, Voodoo Trail and COD is closed to cross-country travel. Additionally, the area between Lava Island Trailhead/Boating Site south to Aspen Trailhead/Boating Site is closed to cross-country travel. Though trails are closed Lava Island, Big Eddy and Aspen Day Use sites remain open.
Trails closed Monday – Friday (see map below):
- COD Trail from intersection 32 at Storm King Trail to the Welcome Station at intersection 21
- Grand Slam Trail between Storm King at intersection 27 to intersection 15 at Voodoo Trail
- Deschutes River Trail and the Deschutes River Mountain Bike Trail between Lava Island south to Aspen Day Use site
- Deschutes River Horse, the One Hour Horse Loop, Two Hour Horse Loop. These are trails popularly accessed from Seventh Mountain Resort.
- All other area trails including Storm King, Voodoo, and ELV are OPEN 7 days a week.
Portions of the following roads are closed 7 days a week:
- 4604000; 4610000; 4612200; 4612208; 4612246; 4615000; 4615800; 4615810
- The gates at road 460400 (at Phil’s Trailhead) and 4604400 (across from Widgi Creek) will be open to allow for public access once the roads have dried out (see map). These gates remained closed last year for operations in the area.
What’s Happening Now:
- Trails Will Remain Open on Weekends and Holidays but forest restoration work continues. Please be aware that large equipment will be working in the area and for your safety, we ask that you know about road, trail and area closures before you visit the Forest and plan your trip accordingly.
- Restoration work has been completed in Marvin’s Garden, Phil’s Trail, KGB, The Lair, Elfin Magic, Grand Slam, portions of COD and the "Good Dog" area off of Century Drive. These areas have been reopened for weekday use.
- As work is completed and areas are safe to enter, the closure will continue to be reduced in size.
- This is a great opportunity to check out some of our other nearby trails, including Horse Butte, Horse Ridge, Cline Buttes area (Maston, Juniper, Tumalo Canals – Between Tumalo and Eagle Crest), Peterson Ridge (Sisters), Radlands (Redmond), Lower 66 (Prineville) and Grey Butte/Skull Hollow (Smith Rock) We've compiled a general list of alternate trails HERE.
Please use caution!
- Operators working on large equipment cutting and moving trees in the unit cannot see people walking through the area and may not be able to prevent an accident. Mowing can cause debris to hurl over 500 feet from the equipment.
- Given these safety hazards, the Forest Service has implemented area closures, which remain in effect from 4:00 a.m. Monday through 5:00 p.m. Friday. All trails are open on weekends and major holidays.
- If you are out on the weekend and need more information, the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station remains open on weekends through Memorial Day and then seven days a week.
- All identified Roads closed to Motor Vehicles 7 days a week (see map). However, the gates at Widgi Creek and Phil’s Trailhead will open once the roads dried out. Please refrain from driving on roads designated as closed.
What will it look like in a few months to a year?
- In the next 6-9 months visitors will see effects of tree felling and removal. There will be slash piles, orange painted trees, and damaged trails, all of which will be addressed. Visitors will also see a forest with better views and longer sight distances.
- In the long term, visitors can expect to see a more open forest, with bigger trees. More importantly, we all will experience a more resilient forest that offers a lower risk of stand replacing fire.
- Why is this restoration so important? Learn more about Restoring Our Forests.
***** UPDATE 11/01/16 *****
All commercial thinning work between Skyliners Road and Cascade Lakes Highway and east of Storm King trail has been completed and trails have been reopened for weekday use.
***** UPDATE 09/12/16 *****
Beginning Monday, September 12, 2016, the Deschutes National Forest will expand the West Bend Area Closure to include the Voodoo Trail from intersection 11 to intersection 19 and road 4601290 south of its intersection with 4601370. Grand Slam and portions of the COD trail, as well as roads in the closure area, remain closed. All trail closures are in effect Monday through Friday and the roads are closed seven days a week.
***** UPDATE 06/01/16 *****
The Deschutes National Forest will be reducing the area closure in effect near Phil’s Trailhead in West Bend. The area closure which once covered nearly 27 miles of trails now includes just over eight, lifting the restrictions on several popular mountain biking trails. Forest restoration work continues near a one mile portion of COD that is open but within the closure and the public should to be aware that large equipment could still be working in the area.
***** UPDATE 04/18/16 *****
Restoration work has been completed in Marvin’s Garden and the "Good Dog" area off of Century Drive. Both areas have been reopened for weekday use. The Forest Service expects to finish work in the most popular mountain biking trail areas, including Phil’s Trail as soon as possible, but may run through the summer. As work is completed and areas are safe to enter the closure will be reduced in size.
***** UPDATE 03/08/16 *****
We are very concerned for the safety of some of our trail users. There have been an alarming number of reports of people ignoring trail closures and encroaching upon active restoration logging sites west of Bend. This is very dangerous! Machine operators cannot see 360 degrees, and they certainly cannot hear you. Log piles, though a very appealing Instagram backdrop, are unstable and a falling log could kill you or your pet.
Please respect these Monday-Friday trail closures, which include:
Phil’s Trail, Marvin’s Garden, The Lair, COD, Elfin Magic, Grand Slam, Forest Road 4610 from Skyliners to Cascade Lakes Highway, and parts of the Good Dog off-leash area.
This is a short-term inconvenience with a long-term benefit. Thank you for your understanding.
***** UPDATE 01/07/16 *****
Beginning January 8th, the Deschutes National Forest will implement an area closure in a portion of the forest, off of Cascade Lakes Highway, commonly known as “Good Dog.” The closure is being done to protect public safety as contractors do thinning and mowing operations. For more information on this area, CLICK HERE FOR THE POST.
***** ORIGINAL POST 11/10/15 *****
Beginning November 30th, the Deschutes National Forest will be implementing an area closure in the West Bend Project area while commercial thinning and mowing operations are occurring.
Contractors will be commercially thinning an 890 acre timber sale unit in West Bend beginning on Monday, November 30th. An additional 1030 acres of mowing will occur within the unit during the same period.
Operators will be using large equipment and may not see you if you are in the area. For the safety of the public and the people working in the area, an area closure will be in effect weekly, from 4:00 a.m. Mondays through Fridays until the project is completed.
The area will be available for public use every weekend as well as on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Trail closures within the area include Phil’s Trail, Marvin’s Garden, The Lair, COD, Elfin Magic, Grand Slam, and others. Forest Road 4610 from Skyliners to Cascade Lakes Highway will also be closed in conjunction with thinning and removal.
Of the 140 miles of non-motorized trails in the West Bend area, approximately 25 will be closed during this thinning and mowing operation. See the attached map for the location & extent of the closure area. We appreciate your patience with this closure. Our contractors are moving more quickly than we anticipated and our flexibility right now will allow them to work more efficiently, which could mean that they complete the work sooner and we can lift the closure earlier than anticipated.
This unit is part of a 5,226 acre contract area known as “Ruble.” This timber sale contract is broken into units and work is expected to continue on this contract through 2020. Ruble is one portion of the 26,000 acre “West Bend Vegetation Project” within the Deschutes National Forest and adjacent to the city of Bend slated for restoration work being done in conjunction with the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project.
Thinning – Commercial thinning in this area is used to provide a diversity of forest structure and associated wildlife habitats that are reflective of the forest's historic structure.
Mowing – Frequently used prior to underburning, this restoration process reduces the height of flammable understory fuels such as grass and brush, which also decreases the potential impacts of a wildfire.
The West Bend Project is the first project from the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project area that the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project Steering Committee and the Deschutes National Forest have worked on together from the very beginning of designing, through planning, and now to implementation. The West Bend Project is designed to restore forest ecosystems, creating a diversity of plant and wildlife habitat, reduce the risk to our community from high severity wildfire, and provide economic and social benefit to our local community. To learn more about the West Bend Project, CLICK HERE.