YACOLT BURN 4x4 TRAILS ARE ON THE WAY ! ! !
How The Idea Got Started...
In the beginning, this project started with 3 friends hanging out together working on their Jeeps. Three friends who were frustrated with having to drive such long distances (and pay ridiculous high fuel prices) to go 4-wheeling when there was a beautiful, massive forest right in our back yard - the spectacular Yacolt Burn.
So -- we set a goal, formed a club, created strategies, rallied the troops and never, never, ever looked back...
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
The most difficult part of this journey by far was staying the course even when everyone who was supposedly "in the know" actually laughed out loud at us and told us that there was absolutely NO WAY we would ever get legal 4x4 trails in the Yacolt Burn. It had been tried time and time again and failed repeatedly. This project has been a long and stressful journey for the charter members of our club who engaged with this project over 2 ½ years ago. During the past 2 ½ years, our club members have invested well over 5,000 hours into meetings, clean-ups, forest watch patrols and educational efforts on the ground and via the internet.
We have made some wonderful new friends and partners (that was the best part), stepped deeply into more than one political pile of poo (that was the scariest part) and unfortunately made a few enemies along the way (that was the worst part). The craziest thing of all - the battles that we had to really armour up for were not with the environmentalists, not with the government agencies and not with the other user groups -- it was in our own sandbox - with other 4x4 enthusiasts (that is the sad part) . . .
Thankfully, due to the publicity of last year’s Cruise-In as well as the 2007 & 2008 clean up events we have recruited some new, very energetic members. We know that these new members care as much about this project as the founding members do and have been able to provide some much needed relief to the original members who have continually turned their lives upside down to make this project a reality. We even found some time to actually go 4-wheelin’ this year...
Get to the Good Stuff
It’s been a very long road, but we are happy to announce that we have officially received the approval from the Commissioner of Public Lands to move forward with building 4x4 trails in the Yacolt Burn.
We will still need to maintain some patience as we await the completion of the proposed trail design from the consultants (due early September) and following that we will need to wait for the SEPA (environmental impact) to run it’s course (October). We do not expect any problems from SEPA as the planning committee followed the environmental requirements to the last little detail.
The Challenges Still Ahead
The DNR has a very limited amount of funding to put towards this project – so almost every mile of trail that we want to build will have to be supported by fund raising efforts and we will then have to increase our level of volunteerism to maintain those trails.
Ready, Set, Go !
We expect to begin preparing existing trails that are already on the ground as early as November 2009. Our goal is to have at least 20 miles of 4x4 trails ready and open to the general public before the 2010 recreation season (opening May 1). We will work on construction of additional “challenging” features as weather, funding and volunteer hours allow. That should bring us up to a total of 25 miles of dedicated 4x4 trails.
Not Just for 4x4's . . .
Also included in this planning process is the addition of another 20+ miles of ATV and dirt bike trails being added to the existing 14 miles at Jones Creek.
Relax - It's a 10 Year Plan
Another hurdle we are experiencing is the loss of the NOVA funds (grant dollars) that would have provided funding for the campground facilities and trailhead at 4-corners. The estimated cost of this project is well over $2 million dollars. All of the fund-raisers in the world are not going to raise that kind of money. So – we will be focusing on building trails and small trailheads while we await the return of the NOVA funds. No worries here either though - this planning process has been based on a 10 year plan - that means we have 10 years to find the grant dollars to fund this facility.
In addition to the $1209.38 that was raised at last year’s Cruise-In, the members of Piston’s Wild Motorsports have raised an additional $319.63 bringing the fund total to $1,529.01. The additional funds were raised by club members who recovered hulk vehicles from the Yacolt Burn and recycled them for cash. The owners of those vehicles donated the titles to Piston’s Wild Motorsports.
At last night's "Hot August Night" event - we received an additional $54 in cash donations bringing our grand total to $1,583.01. ALL of those funds will go direcly to building motorized trails in the Yacolt Burn.
We Still Need Your Help . . .
Although $1583 is a great start we still need everyone's help to bring this dream of 4x4 trails in the Yacolt Burn to fruition. Please be sure to register for the forum so that you will receive up the the minute information about trail building activities - we will do our best to advertise and plan work parties in advance.
In addition, please join us for two very important upcoming events in September and October.
September 26, 2009 (Saturday)
7th Annual "Pick Up the Burn"
See additional information under the Club Events section
This is an opportunity for the 4x4 commuity to come together with the other user groups of the Yacolt Burn Forest and continue to build strong relationships that will maintain the high level of cooperation that has made this project possible.
October 4, 2009 (Sunday)
Piston's Wild Motorsports 4x4 Cruise-In
@ Woody's 4x4 in Vancouver, WA
This event is our primary fund raising activity that will provide the dollars needed to get a jump start on building 4x4 trails later this Fall. Bring your 4x4, bring your donations, bring your friends and bring your family - this is guaranteed to be a great time for everyone and an opportunity to celebrate the anticipation of LEGAL 4x4 trails in the Yacolt Burn...
For additional information about the activities of Piston’s Wild Motorsports Club please go to: www.pistonswild.com
Thank you again to all of the 4x4 enthusiasts who have supported our tiny little club in this monstrous effort - your contributions have been greatly appreciated by us all. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all of you on the building and maintenance of the Yacolt Burn 4x4 Trail System for many, many years to come.
We would also like to especially thank the staff from the Department of Natural Resources who have worked so tirelessly on this planning process to ensure that ALL of the interested user groups of the Yacolt Burn were integrated into the plan. Specifically: Brian Poehlein, Julie Sackett, Mary Coacher, Jessica Kimmick and our planning facilitator Walt Pulliam.
Of course the reason the planning process was such a success was because of the excellent representation in the room from all of the various user groups:
Joe McLoughlin (Jones Creek Trail Riders) - Dirtbikes / ATV's
Barbara Vertz (Cougar Area Trail Seekers) - ATV's
Bill Manbeck (Pacific NW 4-Wheel Drive Association) - 4x4's
Gary Collins (Back Country Horsemen) - Equestrian
Jon Brobst (Yacolt Burn Neighbor) - Dougan Falls Area
Phil Delaney (Lives in the Yacolt Burn) - Naturalist
Pat Campbell (WA Trails Assoc & Sierra Club) - Environmentalist
Jason Ding (Cold Creek Mountain Bikers) - Mountain Biking
Crystal Crowder (Piston's Wild Motorsports) - Multi-Motorized
Chris King - Non-Affiliated Multi-Sport Recreationalist
Darren Huddleston - Non-Affiliated Multi-Sport Recreationalist
In the spirit of cooperation, the individuals listed above continually searched for recreation solutions for the Yacolt Burn that would include the needs of ALL of the user groups while still maintaining the identity and integrity of each the individual recreation opportunities in the forest.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns regarding the Yacolt Burn 4x4 Trail Project. I can be reached at (360) 606-1648.
Happy (really,really happy) trails,
Piston’s Wild Motorsports
The View of Mt. Hood from the proposed location of the
Four-Corners Motorized Trailhead and Campground Facility