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Join Boardman Saturdays and Wednesdays for Clearing South Oregon Coast Trails

Published 01/29/23 at 5:39 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Join Boardman Saturdays and Wednesdays for Clearing South Oregon Coast Trails

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(Brookings, Oregon) – Sure, it's called the Boardman Scenic Corridor, but there ain't no way you're gettin' bored on this stunning expanse of south Oregon coast. (Photo courtesy TKO)

Indeed, to throw a little bit more spice into the whole 12-mile stretch, one group is offering hikes of a sort, but with a civic purpose. The Oregon-wide group Trail Keepers of Oregon (TKO) has a variety of hikes along the Oregon coast that are really work sessions, where you help out restoring and maintaining public access to trails, lopping off foliage and even chopping down chunks of trees in the way.

TKO has periodic events to this end, like the recent Humbug Mountain Mountain Work Party, but they have a regular appointment with the Samuel H. Boardman Corridor trails in events called the Boardman Saturdays and Boardman Wednesdays.

On just about all Saturdays and Wednesdays they take on a different segment of the trail through this varied and ethereal stretch, doing what's called “brushing.” That essentially means taking out overgrowth, according to South Coast Stewardship Coordinator Trevor Bradford. They rely on volunteers, and in this case it's beginners to experts (whereas some of their events require fairly experienced hikers).

You get together with a crew of about ten, and it's a moderate hike (occasionally strenuous but mostly not) with maybe a 500-foot elevation gain, according to the TKO site.

TKO has been doing these brush-out hikes or things of that nature for about 15 years, a unique volunteer group that's not unlike SOLVE or the watchdog CoastWatch, but focused entirely on trails.

These particular work party / hikes along the south Oregon coast wonder have been going for a time now, Bradford told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

“We have been doing Samuel Boardman events weekly since June of 2022,” he said. “We plan on doing them for the indefinite future.”

That means you have plenty of time to catch one – or a few.

“Samuel Boardman Saturdays and Wednesdays are fun and easy trail work parties,” Bradford said. “There are half-day (3-hour) and full-day (6-hour) options available. They are perfect for first-timers, or more seasoned trailkeepers. Most of the sections we work on are part of the Oregon Coast Trail. The OCT stretches from border to border in Oregon along the coast. It travels through Boardman as well.”

Each of these trails are short ones - heading down and return routes. There's usually one outstanding scenic viewpoint looking out over the ocean on these, Bradford said.

“For most of them, we focus on brushing out the trail corridor with power tools and hand tools,” he said. “This summer we plan on doing some more advanced projects where we repair the tread and drainage features of these trails as well.”

Photo courtesy TKO

TKO has worked on almost all the trails in the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, but the work is never finished. Stuff grows back quickly, so another round of brushing is required eventually. Yet the group has made a difference. If you're just now finding new trails open there, it's likely TKO is responsible.

“The trails also need a lot of tread work as well,” he said. “When we first started working on Boardman last year, most of the trails were too overgrown to hike.

“Now visitors and locals alike can at least make it through a hike without hitting a wall of brush. I would say that almost all of Samuel Boardman's 14 miles are now at least passable. However, after that last bout of storms there are plenty of downed logs and trees that need to be removed.”

It's heavy work – but beautiful work.

These hikes are free, but you can help with donations. Times are either starting at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., depending on which hike you choose. See their events page for further info, which also includes registration links for each individual event.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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