conceptual motorized trail plan (draft)
Mt. Emily Recreation Area
Conceptual Motorized Trail Plan
Most of the MERA motorized trail system will be focused on the upper plateau, above the rim. This will protect wildlife resources, provide a buffer from residential areas and avoid erosion on the extremely steep face. The motorized trails will be open to all three Classes of ATVs, including Class I (Quads), Class II (Jeeps and Side-by-sides) and Class III (Motorcycles).
This conceptual plan will guide managers as they develop the trail systems. The lines drawn on the map show generally how the trail system is laid out. The trails have not been ground checked and will be fit to site specific locations. This map conceptually demonstrates trail density, approximate miles of trails, connections, destinations and loops.
Motorized trail users are interested in many different riding experiences. The intention is to provide an array of riding opportunities. This may include families looking for an easy group ride or several friends looking for a challenge for the day. Since this site is relatively small, only so many miles of routes are possible. This entire system could be easily ridden in one day by expert motorcycle riders but by creating options and loops, riders can vary the direction and path to create different experiences. Access to adjacent USFS land will provide a larger riding area and a much lower trail density experience.
All trails will be managed to prevent water erosion. Design and maintenance will be in a sustainable manner. Maintenance will need to be provided with hand crews and often times heavy equipment.
Routes are described from widest to narrowest: Existing Roads (maintenance), Class II (Jeeps), Class I (Quads), and Class III (motorcycles).
Existing Roads (All motorized vehicles- black lines) Approximately 15 miles of roads have been identified to remain open. The road numbers are 1, 2 (Mt. Emily Road), 3, 4 and 8. Some of these roads are gravel while others are unimproved with a natural surface. Generally, these roads will not be maintained for passenger vehicles (cars). People should expect to need a four wheel drive truck or SUV to travel most of these roads. Since Oregon ATV funds purchased most of the property and are helping to pay for maintenance and development, ATV stickers will be required on all vehicles. All the Existing Roads will also be open to Class I, II and III vehicles, except USFS Road 3120.
Class II Trails (Jeeps- red lines) The concept is to create four wheel drive opportunities throughout the area. There would be multiple loops. One small loop will be within the first two miles of the Fox Hill Staging Area. A second loop will be further north on the property. These two loops will also be connected to each other, USFS land and Mt. Emily Road with other Class II trails. This will allow a vehicle to make smaller loops on top, or continue north on USFS land or circle back to town via Mt. Emily Road. Route difficulty levels will vary. Natural rock outcroppings will be used to provide rock crawl areas along the trails. Challenging features will be created on the trails including rough surfaces, large water bars and possible obstacles along the route. The intention is to provide some extremely challenging trail opportunities that at times will only allow vehicles to move at 1-2 mph as they negotiate the trails. Drivers and vehicles will also be able to bypass some difficult sections by using the Existing Roads. Sometimes a bypass route may also be built right at the crux of the trail. There would be approximately 10 miles of additional, new Class II trails in addition to the 15 miles of Existing Roads. This total of approximately 25 miles will also be open to Class I and III vehicles.
Class I Trails (ATVs- green lines) The general layout of these trails will be similar to the Class II Trails- create 2 or 3 loops that connect to each other, USFS land and Mt. Emily Road. The ATV trails will also connect to Igo Lane over Trail No. 9. Potential remains to create a future additional trail network in the northwest portion of the property. These trails would be designed differently from the currently designed Class II trails. Extreme challenge would be less of a focus and creating fun loops would be more of a focus with narrow trails which wind through the trees and take a rider(s) to scenic points. Some of these trails may be suitable for side-by-side vehicles and could be open for their use. There will be approximately 11 miles of Class I ATV trails on the top and 4 miles on Trail No. 9 connecting to Igo Lane. ATVs will be allowed to travel on all of the Class I and II Trails and Existing Roads for a total of 40 miles of routes.
Class III Trails (Motorcycles- blue lines) A perimeter trail is designed to provide a single track trail around the edge of the property. Since this is on the outside it reduces the amount of trail crossings and will provide a more remote trail experience. The trail would be maintained at a 12-24 inch width. Physical trail barriers may need to be installed to keep Class I vehicles from driving on these routes. The trail design will include a couple of “Most Difficult“ sections but will be designed to allow bypasses on easier Class I, II or III trails. There will be approximately 12 miles of Class III Trails. There will be a total of approximately 52 miles of trails and Existing Roads open to Class III Vehicles.
A couple other riding opportunities around the Fox Hill Staging Area will include-
Youth Riding Area. A new parking lot and learners loop have been constructed on the southwest side of Fox Hill Road. Modification or expansion may occur based on monitoring the site and how well it functions.
Motocross Area. A track approximately ½ - 1 mile in length would be developed directly south of the Youth Riding Area. The Youth Riding Area parking area will need to be expanded. This area would be south facing and would melt from snow very early. Jumps, whoops and tight corners will provide challenging rides. The trail will be wide enough for both motorcycles and quads and allow riders to pass each other. The track will be designed to allow competitive events.
ATV Safety Training Area. The large open area west of the Fox Hill Road Staging Area and on the north side of Fox Hill Road will only be open to instructors to teach the Class I and III hands-on ATV Safety Training Class, which mostly focuses on youth. Courses primarily occur on weekends and limit the number of students. Since this is a training session, students are riding at slow speeds and sound does not tend to be an issue reducing possible impacts to nearby residences.