***UPDATE!*** The final design of the Mt. Hood OHV Plan dropped the Peavine OHV Area. Read on for details about Bark’s concern with including the Peavine area for OHV activity and visit the Forest Service website for OHV access maps: http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/mthood/recreation/ohv
The Peavine OHV area is one of the three proposed areas whose boundaries are within a mile of current wilderness. Summit Lake and the Summit Lake campground are within the OHV area. In conversation with OHV riders, we understand that the West Pinhead Butte is a current destination in this area. The proposal would provide for a loop that would lead riders to the butte and back to the area. The propsed trail system comes within a mile of the Pacific Crest Trail, which summits the South and North Pinhead Buttes on Warm Springs land and would use the Skyline Road (4240110). Both of these are historic and culturally significant destinations for other important users of the forest. Every year thousands of people from around the world hike along portions of the Pacific Crest Trail. They depend on the hundreds of volunteer hours invested in keeping this a thriving challenge for all Americans to hike from Mexico to Canada.
The Skyline Road, or what was once part of the Oregon Skyline Trail, was the precursor of the Pacific Crest Trail in this region. The original trail led from Mount Hood to Crater Lake. Most of the original 1920 route in the Clackamas District was built in 1909. Parts of the old trail remain as artifact. While logging has damaged much of it, significant stretches remain. The first route was incrementally replaced by the Skyline Road. The piece of this road being incorporated into the proposed Peavine OHV area is one of the remaining areas left in tact and accessible. Although full-size vehicles are using this as a connector road, it is a chosen destination for its exquisite views and surrounding old-growth forests. This potential conflict of use is a clear example of where much better analysis is needed on how to manage the recreation needs with the historical and cultural resources on Mt. Hood.
This upper Clackamas area is one of the remaining swaths of Mt. Hood with considerable old-growth forests still standing. High fragmentation, patchiness and loss of connectivity contribute to the large edge effects on habitat in this area (Upper Clackamas Watershed Assessment, 10). These conditions have severely affected late seral habitat in the area, including the Upper Clackamas LSR (60). The LSR is so skinny that activities outside of the reserve have large effects on reserve habitat (17).