Duckabush Trail Opens To Hikers
The Duckabush River trail emerges from burn damage after many hours of volunteer work. Photo by nutmeg.
Yesterday the Olympic National Forest re-opened the Duckabush River trail to hikers after almost a year of closure. (The trail remains closed to stock for now.)
The trail has been closed since last September because of severe hazards after the Big Hump fire. Washington Trails Association and other volunteer organizations have been hard at work repairing the popular trail.
This year, WTA volunteers put in weeks logging out the trail, using cross-cut saws, as required by the U.S. Forest Service in its Wilderness Areas. (Trip reporter Nutmeg wrote about her experience on one of the Backcountry Response Teams that worked the trail in a May 28th Trip Report).
If you go, step cautiously in a recovering forest
The Forest Service cautions hikers take extra care and be on the lookout for hazards that will likely plague the trail for many years to come as vegetation recovers. The area where the fire burned is extremely steep and much less stable than before the fire.
One function of vegetation in a forest is that it retains rainwater, slowly releasing it into the forest. The fire destroyed much of the vegetation along the trail, so as water erodes the area's soil, rockfalls will be more frequent, and holes and gullies will likely reappear in the trail tread. If you hike the trail, watch out for tree snags and branches that will continue to fall.
Windy and wet conditions can create more hazards in a burned forest than a green one, so be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out.
Extensive work by WTA and other volunteer organizations will continue through September of this year.