Out of bounds: SMC to strike Bull of Woods

photos by Mt. Hood National Forest staff members Sam Getchell and Eric Straka

13 JUNE 2024 | DETROIT, OR. -- Over the years, our crews have built a reputation for being able to tackle challenging trail projects in remote wilderness with strong familiarity of post-fire environments and patterns. In 2022, Siskiyou Mountain Club entered into an agreement with the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service that gave authority to local land managers across Oregon to partner with us on trail projects. 

After some conversations with the Mt. Hood National Forest, we put together a project agreement that will send our crews into the Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area later this summer. The 36,879 acre wilderness has around a dozen lakes with numerous streams with old growth habitat (read more from wilderness.net). 

"It turns out the Bull of the Woods was one of the first wilderness areas I ever visited," says the Club's executive director Gabriel Howe who grew up in Clackamas County.

He coordinated with Mt. Hood Staff Officer Lorelei Haukness to put the agreement together. "Having worked with SMC on the South Coast and seen the amazing work they do, I'm thrilled they're coming to the Mt. Hood," she writes in an email. 

The Club's Corps crews will be working on the Elk Lake Creek Trail in an area impacted by the 2021 Bull Complex. The crews expect a lot of downed trees, blown out tread, and thick brush. Work is planned for August and September.

While far beyond the Club's footprint, the project comes with a lot of benefits, according to Howe. "Staff who have been working the same trails for seven, eight, or nine years get to visit somewhere new and see how a different [Forest Service] unit does things," says Howe. "And it strengthens our partnership with the agency." 

Howe also mentions how supportive staff at the Mt. Hood have been: "They're professional, they offer outstanding service, and you can tell their hearts are in it." 

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