The summit of Spencer Butte is rapidly deteriorating due to high use, and the rare ecosystem found there is being trampled away. Without a clear trail to the top, hikers often disperse, and impact to the existing rare and sensitive plant community has been significant. In addition, the confusing trail network results in several injuries each year to people who are simply lost. Many of these instances have required Lane County Search and Rescue efforts. This project will construct a defined and stable trail bed with a few short sections of constructed basalt rock steps. The trail will maintain a relatively steep challenging grade with a few widened areas that take advantage of spectacular views.
In the past other approaches such as signage, trail markers, cairns, and fencing were tried but none proved successful. In response, Parks and Open Space underwent an extensive public process with public meetings and community surveys seeking opinions on how best to address the issue. The overwhelming majority of participants agreed that reconstructing portions of the existing trail and building a section of new trail would address the ongoing issues.
Work is scheduled to begin this week and is expected to be completed by the end of July 2015. The work is being done by Oregon Woods, Inc., a Eugene-based forestry and natural restoration company. When work is under way, portions of the trail will be closed Monday through Friday during daytime construction hours, and the entire park will be closed one day a week every one to two weeks, starting on Thursday, April 9, due to helicopter work associated with the project. Total cost of the project is estimated at $529,000, funded in part by a Recreational Trails Program grant provided by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.