A Note About Trail Conditions

Hey Whiskey Run Riders!  

The past few days have been a preview of spring at Whiskey Run!  Overall the trails are riding great and some dedicated volunteers have been keeping blown culverts, downed trees and muddy sections open and rideable.  Hope you got out and rolled some dirt this weekend!

There’s another atmospheric river bearing down on the region this week.  So consider waiting until things can dry out again before riding on any of the trails.  Our trails are doing an absolutely amazing job in handling the traffic and rain from this year’s El Nino winter.  It’s always good to check on conditions before you ride.  

If you didn’t know, there’s a RAWS weather station on the county forest where you can see daily 1, 3, 6 and 24hr precip levels as well as seasonal and yearly totals (Thanks NOAA!)  We use this for trail work planning and trail management.  It’s called the 7 Mile Creek site (https://www.weather.gov/wrh/timeseries?site=SMCO3).  If the precip levels reach over .5″ in 24 hours, you should consider bagging your ride and go do something else (maybe ride the dunes?)  That’s just sound stewardship.

Luckily, for both our Whiskey Run and Winchester Trail systems,  precip levels in the county forest have been significantly lower than areas to the immediate south.  

The seven mile creek station has received less than half the precip than port orford, 35 miles to the south.  Still, 21 inches of rain since Jan 1 is a lot.  And we have to be a bit skeptical about that “half” the rain because we don’t know if the loging and removal of trees (due to timber harvest) has created potential for windblown precip to not drop in the RAWS collectors.  Still, it’s a lot of water.  


A note about the classic side:

The majority of the south side trails were riding great, especially those in the clear cuts.  As expected, anything in the woods was a little greasy but overall riding superb.  I do want to touch on a couple of areas where we ran into significant standing water and why the trails will not be rerouted or adjusted.  I’m talking about Captain Blacklock and a short portion of Sir Lancelot.  

The trail tread in these problem areas is still hard and rideable.  Keep riding straight through them.  The issue isnt the trail or the routing, it’s the water table.  This is a rainforest less than a mile from the ocean.  On winters with big precipitation the water table perches and there’s just nothing a sump drain, lead off ditch or gravel would do to improve this.  The last time these areas had similar issues was spring 2018.  That was after an impressively wet 2016/2017 winter followed by another wet winter of 2017/2018 during phase 1 construction.  These 2 trails traverse areas of former marine terraces with a soil locally called Blacklock.  It’s the same stuff the cranberry growers flood and work on.  Great for flooding, poor for draining.  We found the best option was to let the water sheet flow, or try and wait it out.  Ditches, corduroy and turnpiking works for most winters, but in years like this, when the water table rises significantly, there’s just not much we can do.  Ride on through and don’t deviate! Any minor muddiness or tracking can be easily smoothed later.

It’s one of those years that in some locations you could poke the ground with your finger and get the flow of a garden hose.  Still, our trail conditions are great overall.  We’re looking forward to a wonderful spring riding season, and putting together our worklist for future trail work parties! See you out there!