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Old 06-05-2017, 09:51 AM
AlwaywrencN AlwaywrencN is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Hermiston OR
Posts: 13
Default MERA trail maintenance and planning 6/17

Mt. Emily Recreation Area (MERA)
by Colton Wiseman

At 8am Saturday morning June 3 several people from different user groups met at the staging area at MERA. MERA is a OHV area that is owned and managed by Union County. The MERA coordinator Sean Chambers, is a younger enthusiastic guy who loves his job and being outdoors. Sean is very open to ideas about the OHV area. After spending the day with Sean its hard to not be excited about the possibilities of this wonderful place right outside of LaGrande, OR.
After Sean gave the 8 am work briefing the different user groups set off to their areas to do maintenance and other work. Motorcycles, class 2, four wheeler and side by sides were all represented at the briefing. A few non-motorized may have been there as well I'm not sure. Sean tells me the mountain bike crowd has really been active in their areas. The class 2 gang consisted of three mildly modified Wranglers and myself in the stock ZJ. Later on we were joined by Ron Buris from near by Cove,OR in his modified XJ. We took off up the trail stopping at a rocky area that I had been asked to look at last fall. Then we walked the area and I gave my input, Sean liked what I had to say and we made a plan for leaving that area open as a multiple line extreme bump out that ties back into the trail above. Right next to the rocky area is less difficult but still a moderately difficult hill climb, then if you are looking for an easy route, just drive the main trail around. Sean then met us at the head of the 212 (Juniors Line). This trail was built late last year and has seen little to no use thus far. The trail is fairly easy with some moderate difficulty bump outs. Along this trail is where the tie in from the extreme and moderate hill climbs from below come together. I ran the easy line of this trail several time in my ZJ and the wranglers in the group ran the moderate bump outs to pack or wear in the trail bed a little, in hopes of others seeing this trail and using it more. Sean is also going to add some signs at the end of this trail because beyond it is a sensitive area that is closed to motorized use. We also lined the trail with fallen logs and branches. This area was logged last year and there was plenty of material on hand. After that the three local Wranglers had other commitments, and Ron in his Xj joined us at that time.
Ron and I followed Sean up to the start of the spine trail where we split again with Ron and I running the trail and meeting Sean on the far end. The Spine trail has spectacular view of LaGande below. The left line over the rocks is doable in a stock ZJ with some careful tire placement. Sean jumped in with me and we continued up to an area that Sean would like to see developed into another class 2 trail. After walking the proposed area and sharing ideas we then headed up the mountain to another trail that was built last fall. This trail leads to an overlook that you can look down onto the area where we had just walked the proposed trail. From the overlook we continued onto the 260 (jeepers creepers) loop trail. This had not seen a full size vehicle yet, yeah go stock ZJ. I had some pruning tools and we made the ZJ fit just barely in a few places. Since the chainsaw was way back down the mountain we used a pollaski and Ron's winch to fall a tree that Ron's XJ was not able to get by. While Ron and I widened this section of trail, Sean went and conitued pruning the trail ahead of us. This trail is still really tight but with some use will develope into a nice loop throught the trees. That little adventure kind of wrapped up our day and we made our way down the mountain and said our goodbys.
The local class 2 community really needs to get onboard and work with Sean in creating some new class 2 trails in this clean slate of OHV area. I was disappointed that only a few locals showed up and weren't able to stay the whole day. I see an opportunity being missed, If they can not get some organization. I will continue to do what I can. Sean is very easy to talk with and open to input from everyone. This could potentially be the TSF or Cline Butte of northeast Oregon. They are trying to build trails that people from other areas of the state will want to travel to. Drop Sean a line and tell him what a good job he is doing to provide opportunities for all OHV users, especially class 2.

MERA Coordinator
Sean Chambers
541-963-1319
schambers@union-county.org
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