By Ann McCreary
The Buck Mountain trail, a few miles north of Winthrop, is one of the Methow Valley’s premier mountain biking destinations, offering spectacular views of the Methow Valley and distant mountains.
The 13-mile loop trail, also popular with horseback riders, trail runners, hikers, snowshoers, fat bike riders and dog owners, draws thousands of users each year. Although it is on U.S. Forest Service land, the Buck Mountain loop is not a designated Forest Service trail.
The Methow Valley Ranger District, however, is considering adopting the trail and making improvements, and is seeking public comment on the proposal.
Proposed trail improvements include 4.78 miles of trail work to increase sustainability and minimize impacts of trail users. The trail work would include reconstructing 3.57 miles of an old horse trail on the west side of the loop, and refining 1.21 miles of smaller sections of trail along the loop.
Trail improvements would be made based on Forest Service designs and standards to protect natural resources and reduce the need for heavy maintenance, according to an announcement by Mike Liu, Methow Valley District Ranger.
The trail improvements and maintenance would be completed by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Methow Trails, and volunteers and employees under the supervision of the Methow Valley Ranger District. If approved by the ranger district, work would begin this summer.
Liu said 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, which established the national system of trails on public lands. “It seems a fitting time to make the improvements needed so that such a popular trail can continue delivering benefits to the public into the future,” Liu said.
The Buck Mountain project is not required to undergo an environmental assessment. However, the district is seeking public comment on the proposal by May 2. Letters can be sent to Rosemary Seifried, Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Road, Winthrop, WA 98862. Email comments can be sent to email@example.com. For further information about the project, call Seifried at 996-4021.