There could be a new snowshoe trail in Central Oregon as soon as the winter of 1019-20.
The Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest is in the process of accepting public comments on a proposal to build a 1.75-mile snowshoe trail from Upper Three Creeks Sno-Park to the Jeff View trail shelter. The comment period is open through April 27.
The project is about 10 miles southwest of Sisters – as the crow flies – with access from Forest Road 16.
“We’ve had people who have been snowshoeing in that particular area,” said Michael Keown, environmental coordinator with the Sisters Ranger District, in an interview. “A lot of snowshoers tend use the tracks set by Nordic skiers.”
This, of course, ruins the ski track, especially during thaw-freeze cycles. So the Forest Service is proposing a 1.75-mile, marked route for snowshoers. Further, the Forest Service says, the route for snowshoers would be one-half mile shorter each way than the current ski route.
As an example of what officials hope to accomplish, the Forest Service proposal makes mention of the heavily used snowshoe trails in the Swampy Lakes, Edison and Dutchman Flat areas. These are all trails maintained by the Central Oregon Nordic Club.
“These dedicated snowshoe trails have been highly popular and have greatly reduced trail conflicts with Nordic skiers,” said the Forest Service in its written proposal.
The construction would mainly consist of removing obstructions such as downed trees, which would not be covered by snow, then placing diamond trail markers, Keown explained. The Forest Service proposal says that no whitebark pine would be cut or removed. The public-comment period is to help identify any issues that should be considered in an environmental review.
Assuming the project gets the go-ahead, work on the trail likely would occur in the summer of 2019, with the trail then ready for the 2019-20 winter season, Keown reported.
The public can send comments by April 27 to Amy Racki; Jeff View Shelter Snowshoe Trail Project; P.O. Box 249; Sisters, Oregon 97759. The telephone number is 541-549-7730, and the fax number is 541-549-7746. E-mail comments can be sent to email@example.com. Please put “Jeff View Shelter Snowshoe Trail Project” in the subject line of an e-mail.