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Forest Service to temporarily close road south of Phil’s Trailhead

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Beginning Wednesday, the Deschutes National Forest will temporarily close the gate on Forest Road 4604 by Phil’s Trailhead to accomplish restoration work in two decommissioned gravel pits near the road.

Forest Service crews will be restoring the pits along Forest Road 4604 south of Phil’s Trailhead. Skyliner 1 is a 5-acre pit directly south of the trailhead and next to Marvin Garden’s Trail, and the second is the 20-acre Cascade Pit that has been fenced off since 2014 due to extensive resource damage and invasive weed infestation.

Heavy equipment will be used to till the soil in both pit areas and spread piles of mulch that have been stored there. The mulch was created as a byproduct of restoration work from previous commercial thinning projects in the West Bend area.

Adding this mulch to the soil will improve its condition in preparation for native plant regeneration, officials said.

This phase of the project is anticipated to be completed by the end of the week and the gate should be reopened on Friday, April 17.

Skyliner 1 and Cascade were formerly gravel pits within the Skyliner pits complex south of Phil's Trailhead.

Before being fenced off in 2014, Cascade pit had a long history of invasive plant treatments and off-road vehicle use. The fence was installed to keep the area from further disturbance as well as to protect the 10,000 cubic yards of mulch being used in the project.

Future plans will include continued invasive plant treatments, as well as seeding and planting native plants.    

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