February 19, 2016
Starker Forest has had a long history of offering free permits for recreation on our forestlands. In 2015, permits were issued for over 4300 recreation activities. We ask that permittees walk, run and bike on existing roads only.
Recently, we have experienced an explosion of unauthorized trail construction and use on our property adjacent to the OSU Research Forests near Corvallis. In particular, we have found multiple sets of trail building tools on our Alder Creek Tree Farm.
We have posted signs clarifying who owns the land and that the unauthorized trails are not ok and should not be built or used. The public is welcome to run and ride on existing roads on our properties with a free permit that is available at our office near Corvallis at 7240 SW Philomath Blvd.
Concerns about liability and erosion caused by rampant trail construction and use, combined with the general philosophy of trespassing and using private property without permission, have caused Starker Forests to take action to stop unauthorized trail construction and use.
According to Marc Vomocil, Vice President of Forestry, â€œWe encourage all kinds of recreation activities on the vast majority of our lands, but we do not want permanent trails built unless we are part of the process.â€
Starker Forests is working in partnership with the OSU Research Forests and Team Dirt, a local chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association, to identify places where legal trails can enhance the recreation experience and should be built. Currently, the only authorized trail on our Alder Creek Tree Farm is the â€œUpper Skillings/McCullough Peakâ€ connector that connects the OSU Research Forests 790 road to our road system immediately west of McCullough Peak.
Unauthorized trail building hurts the efforts of local trail advocates. Working with the landowner, as groups like Team Dirt have done, builds trust. Team Dirt, a nonprofit and volunteer organization, supports the stewardship of sustainable, multiple-use and purposed built trails, to preserve access for mountain bikers through advocacy and education, and to promote responsible trail use.
Unauthorized trails will be blocked with signs, flagging and forest brush to make it clear to users that use is illegal. Forestlands in Benton County are patrolled by the Benton County Sheriffâ€™s Office.
Starker Forests is a fifth generation family business that owns, grows and manages forests in Benton, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Polk counties. Our primary business is commercial timber production. We are an active member of the American Tree Farm System.
For more information: www.starkerforests.com, phone: 541-929-2477