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Thursday, August 5, 2010

A great example of "re-wilding" at Perry Creek

It was a classic example -- a Cascade valley that used to have a trail from the bottom up, but then a logging operation built a road in a couple of miles so the logging road became the new access road to the (new) trailhead. This scenario was played-out many many times over the years, shortening trails and creating new motorized routes into what were once wild areas.

The USFS Verlot Ranger District has corrected one such situation as best they could. The Perry Creek Trail to Mt. Forgotten Meadows now starts a full mile further down the valley than it has since the logging road was punched up Perry Creek's mouth back in the 50s.

Click HERE for a map of the area.

It's an elegant solution -- a new trailhead parking lot had been built a mile up the Mountain Loop Highway for the Mt. Dickerman Trail a few years ago. If you could follow the 2000 ft. contour from there back down the main valley, you'd intersect the Perry Creek Road just a hundred yards or so from the trailhead. So the road was blocked with huge boulders, the parking area was increased and a new trail was built through some beautiful old forest in the Stillaguamish River valley to connect to the old trail. This has several benefits to the area and the users:
  • No more motor noise or wheel dust on the Perry Creek Road. The road will gradually green-over.
  • Savings of taxpayer money - no more maintenance on the road.
  • The additional mile added to the trail means hikers get a more realistic experience of how long it takes to hike up into the high country. The original deep forest walk segment has been restored.
  • Hikers looking for an easy stroll on almost level trail through old forest have a new place to go (the first mile). This should help reduce some of the load on the nearby Ice Caves Trail.
True, the new trail does create some disturbance in the area it passes-through. But overall, the benefits outweigh this.

So if you're looking for a fun full-day or overnight trip, or a short forest stroll, try the "newly re-wilded" Perry Creek Trail. And think how this can be an example of re-wilding in other Cascade valleys.

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