Loop Road Open on the Weekend for Foot and Bike Traffic - Closure Extended for Ashland Loop Road for Week of March 27
UPDATE 3/23/23: Ashland Loop Road private owners have told the City of Ashland that logging operations will continue the week of March 27, until completed. Road and trails will be open over the weekend, March 25 and 26, to bike and pedestrian traffic only. No vehicles will be allowed until road rehabilitation is completed. Bike and walk access will close again on March 27.
This information is being supplied by the City as a courtesy to the owners and community. This logging project is not managed by the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project or City of Ashland.
See Q&A below for more information.
Closure area map:
Closed Trails and Roads Include:
Ashland Loop Road above Morton St, 1 mile below the White Rabbit Trailhead
Alice in Wonderland Trail
Bandersnatch Trail from Alice in Wonderland to Ashland Loop Road (west side of Bandersnatch is open from Lithia Park side to Alice in Wonderland)
Lower Red Queen via Ashland Loop Road Road and Terrace Street.
Lithia Loop Road beyond Granite Street Swim Reservoir and Wonder Trail
Gryphon, Snark, and Waterline Trails
Jabberwocky via Toothpick Trail only
Questions and Answers about this project
This project involves four private landowners located outside the City limits, though two of those lots have only minor involvement. The Ashland Loop Road crosses two of the properties on the way to the White Rabbit Trailhead and the Alice in Wonderland trail does as well.
This work is not part of our ongoing Ashland Forest Resiliency Project. This is not because the work isn’t valuable, but because there wasn’t ample time for proper engagement of the various partners and public to help craft the outcome.
Generally, the project accomplishes fire protection goals though it is initially visually a shock to some people.
We are experiencing a die-off in our forests and particularly in Douglas-fir trees (and some pine) that is beyond anything we have experienced in Ashland’s history. Related to the changing climate, recent research from OSU (derived in part from decades of data on City forest lands), describes a “decline spiral”. This is impacting our municipal and Parks lands and is something we need to address further and budget for. Our forests are changing quickly though this isn’t commonly understood, and anticipating this change by cutting quite a number of green trees (in addition to dead and dying) came as a shock to many people.
The City does have grant funding for wildfire fuels reduction from the Oregon Department of Forestry. A portion is earmarked for private lands around the City and the lots where work is underway are potentially eligible. The grant can fund 75% of the clean-up costs (limbs, branches, small trees and brush) after the logging should the landowners show they did not make a profit by removing trees. The objective of the funds are financial assistance, not profit enhancement. The project will be assessed with the owner(s) after the work is complete to determine their eligibility. The City is not paying for the logging phase of this work, which has been guided by the private owners and is not subject to City oversight or codes.
Trails and roads will reopen and be brought back to functioning status, or even better than before the work.
The regulatory oversight for work outside the City limits falls to the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Forest Practices Act. The owners and contractors have been working with ODF to follow all applicable laws and protections.
The owners intend to replant more heavily cut areas with more drought tolerant species this spring.
The area will need to stay closed until work is done to protect public safety.