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Dead Mountain Trail Added to Oakridge Mountain Biking Adventures

Published: May 28, 2015

Oakridge, Ore. - Saturday, June 6, marks the launch of the newest addition to the growing collection of mountain biking trails in Oakridge and Westfir with Dead Mountain Trail. With an easy average grade of 6.5 percent, the trail offers a smooth climb up and fun ride down, corners that are built to tackle at any speed, and an output that lands directly in Oakridge's Uptown District. Dead Mountain Trail is poised to be a perfect addition to Oakridge's International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Silver Level Ride Center as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the country.

Originally known as Flat Creek trail, the revitalization project started as an extension to connect the Salmon Creek network of trails with an upper set to the top of Dead Mountain. When an initial Ride Center Project proposal failed to move forward, the Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards (GOATS) built on the proposal to secure a Recreational Trail program grant in 2012.

Working with members of the Willamette National Forest and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, GOATS amended the contract with the State and aimed to rebuild and extend the summit of Dead Mountain without any additional funds.

"Oakridge is fortunate to have so many great trails dating back to the early days of the Forest Service," says Benjamin Beamer, Development Director for GOATS. "A lot of times, these are reclaimed by the forests, especially since they originally served as transportation routes to fire lookouts or guard stations. Most of the edits that we make to these trails are to improve drainage, but mountain bikers will really enjoy the modern design aspects we built into this."

The Dead Mountain Trail was designed in partnership with the Forest Service to be a trail built for mountain bikers, by mountain bikers. "Through these partnerships we are able to offer a better trail experience than we could ever accomplish on our own," said Kevin Rowell, Trails Lead for the Middle Fork Ranger District. "This trail is open to all trail user types, but people will notice features we designed into the trail to help control speed and to enhance the user experience specifically for mountain bikers."

Dead Mountain Trail's average grade of 6.5 percent is a stark difference among the majority of existing trails that range from 12 - 15 percent. Mountain bikers will notice an easy climb to the top and spending less time braking on the way down.

"We based the idea of this trail around the flow trail design concept," adds Beamer. "Do we need to slow bikers down? We add a hill. Have a larger corner coming up? We can make sure bikers are coming at it with a gradual slope, and meet a bermed corner."

Throughout its construction, the Forest Service helped to ensure the design took into consideration the surrounding wildlife and different uses the trail will see. With GOATS' connections to organizations such as Eugene's Disciples of Dirt, High Cascade Forest Volunteers, and the University of Oregon's Outdoor Program, they coordinated volunteer work parties that proved essential in completing the project on time.

After receiving support from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and involvement from the City of Oakridge, Dead Mountain Trail became the first of more than 8 trails in the Oakridge-Westfir Community trails plan to take shape.

Construction of the trail was accomplished in large part using a mini-excavator owned and operated by the Willamette Mountain Mercantile, a local bike shop. Finish work, like shaping of berms and drainage features, was done by a crew of GOATS and Disciples of Dirt.

"This project is very close to the Oakridge-Westfir community," says Natalie Inouye, VP of Tourism Marketing for Travel Lane County. "It adds an important connection to town, making it easy for visitors to use Oakridge as a hub for a car-free outdoor excursion. Dead Mountain Trail ends right into popular local spots like Brewers Union Local 180 and The Oakridge Lodge and Bistro."

For additional information on the Dead Mountain Trail and grand opening event, please visit the GOATS website, or contact Travel Lane County at (541) 484-5307 or (800) 547-5445.

About Travel Lane County:
Travel Lane County markets and promotes the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region as a destination for travel, conventions, meetings and events. It serves as a private, nonprofit association dedicated to economic development through visitor spending, which pumped more than $609.9 million into Lane County, Oregon's economy in 2014.

About GOATS:
Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards protects, creates, and enhances quality non-motorized trail experiences that enhances community access to forest experiences and interest in forest stewardship. We actively promote responsible trail use, support volunteer trail construction and maintenance work, assist land managers with trail management issues, and improve relations among all trail user groups.

About the Forest Service:
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. For more information, visit