Bear Mountain Santa Cruz PayDirt Dig Campout
On the weekend of September 30th, a hearty group of 30 Evergreen members from across the state came together to help the Methow chapter maintain a 3-mile section of the Bear Mountain trail above Twisp. The Bear Mountain trail has been neglected for a number of years and needed some help. Eventually it will connect with the planned North Mountain Trail project at the Loup Loup ski area with an additional 30 miles of great singletrack.
The Santa Cruz Paydirt program supported the weekend effort. Santa Cruz awarded the Methow chapter a pair of Heckler eBikes and cash to support the trail recovery efforts there. Our Methow team made the best use of the cash awarded to keep the volunteers fed and happy for a weekend of hard work on the trails. Trailbuilders have been using the Hecklers to carry saws and tools into the trail systems burned in 2021 to cut hazardous trees and open the trails surrounding Sun Mountain.
The Bear Mountain Trail is a local favorite, used by mountain bikers, horseback riders, hikers, and dirt bikes. Overall the trail runs a bit steep, and therefore, the spring and fall moisture is its biggest challenge, with much of the work over the weekend focused on improving the drainage along the trail and repairing tread where the water had eroded the trail bed. Much of the soil contained a significant amount of ash from the previous fire activity and made for a dusty weekend.
On each day, the crew set off to tackle the much-needed maintenance, splitting into tread teams and corridor teams. The corridor team were armed with loppers, hand saws, and a certified sawyer who was cutting back deadfall and logs which had fallen alongside the trail. The team worked their way up, ensuring that sightlines and more importantly, crash lines were clear of hazards and branches. The tread team followed with Macleods, Rouge Hoe’s, shovels and rakes to build drains, repair ruts and widen tread that had degraded over years of use and erosion. Cody Olsen, Methow Trail Project Manager, followed the crews providing guidance and putting the final touches on the improvements.
Cody has used the donated bikes to work on many fire-affected trails this summer.
"The Santa Cruz Heckler E-bikes have been a game changer for trail work in the Methow Valley. Our main project this summer was to repair devastating fire damage on the Thompson Ridge Trail. Thompson Ridge is 12 miles long and only accessible from each end of the trail. Most of our work was 4-6 miles from the trailhead, and the ebikes drastically reduced commute time and left other trail staff and me with far more energy to work throughout the day. Riding a non-electric bike or hiking with a 40lb+ chainsaw backpack any distance is exhausting and time-consuming. With the e-bikes, our productivity skyrocketed while keeping our crew happy with an amazingly fun bike to ride out at the end of the day. Without these e-bikes, I don't believe we would have been able to reach our objective of having the Thompson Ridge Trail open to the public this year, let alone open in August to the pleasure and surprise of all trail users in the Methow Valley. E-bikes are an invaluable tool for trail building and maintenance, and I couldn't be more thankful for this partnership with Santa Cruz Bicycles and their PayDirt Fund."
After each day on the trail the crew loaded back up in the trucks and headed back to camp for a tasty dinner cooked up by the Methow Chapter volunteers. Campfire restrictions prevented any late-night sessions, and the work had most folks in bed early.
We want to send a huge thank you to the Santa Cruz Paydirt program and all of the wonderful volunteers who joined us this weekend. If you would like to contribute more to the recovery efforts in the Methow, please donate to their Give Methow campaign this month.