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Stretch of Deschutes River Trail to stay closed near Ryan Ranch


A section of the Deschutes River Trail on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District will remain closed between Dillon Falls Boat Ramp and Slough Camp for the winter, Deschutes National Forest officials said Friday.

Earlier this month, the Deschutes River Trail was rerouted to allow for the removal of an historic berm separating the river from its natural floodplain. In addition to the berm removal, restoration of the flood plain required the construction and installation of two footbridges on the river trail and the hardening of the trail’s surface with gravel.

Much of the work has been completed; however, the closure of the section of trail between Dillon Falls Boat Ramp and Slough Camp has been extended to allow surfacing work on the trail through the winter to make sure the trail is sustainable and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

During the closure, trail users are directed to follow a re-route between the Dillon Falls Boat ramp and Slough Camp using Forest Roads 41_600 and 41_100.

Though the trail section is closed and rerouted, the 41_600 road to the Dillon Falls Day Use Area and Boat Ramp has been reopened to vehicle traffic and access to Dillon Falls is open.

A second phase of the project will occur in 2019, which includes the construction of an accessible trail and wetland overlook that meets the standards of the ADA. Additionally, a new toilet will be installed and designated ADA parking will be constructed.

Ryan Ranch is a historic slough floodplain of the Deschutes River that has been drained and isolated from the river for over 90 years. The area was used historically by Native Americans and more recently as pasture after being homesteaded in the late 1900s.

The Forest Service acquired Ryan Ranch in 1946 and continued grazing on site as part of a federal grazing allotment until 1989.

The full ecological potential of the slough, including historic habitat for the Oregon spotted frog, has been limited by a berm that prevents the river from inundating the floodplain on a regular basis. Reconnecting the river with Ryan Ranch will benefit a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic species, including migratory and nesting waterfowl, amphibians and ungulates.

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