JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Prescott Park’s Madrone Trail appears passable enough after the previous day’s rain, without status water and a few hoof prints from a black-tailed deer.
But Haley Cox doesn’t get 10 paces up the trail before her feet appear to be she’s wearing grey clown shoes.
Roxy Ann Peak’s notorious clay soil kegs up on her soles, showing why the park’s trails overlooking the Rogue Valley are seasonal at first-rate.
“It’s deceiving from the appearance of it,” says Cox, a planner for the Medford Parks and Recreation Department. “You wouldn’t know from the look of it that your footwear could be protected with 5 kilos of mud.”
But this dubious part of the park’s topography should significantly decrease or disappear, and the “closed whilst muddy” signs ought to go with it.
The town is inside the midst of a test to peer whether these seasonal trails can welcome hikers, runners, and bikers 12 months-spherical via resurfacing them with decomposed granite that, through the years, could glaze and harden the trails, so water runs off in preference to soaking in.
With help from the park’s prolific biker gang — generally sporting their Rogue Valley Mountain Bike Association riding jerseys — park officials these days resurfaced the 1-mile, recently built Greenhorn Trail with decomposed granite in hopes it’s going to shape right into a higher path and no longer wash down the slopes in destiny rains.
If it sticks, plans are to systematically resurface the park’s final 13 miles of trails to present Roxy Ann Peak mountain bikers and hikers get entry to yr-round panoramic views.
“We’re now not positive if this could achieve success in staying in all weather conditions,” Cox says. “We’re virtually hoping it’s going to settle into the clay and end up tons greater cemented in so it doesn’t persist with your shoes and tires and has a touch little bit of delivering for comfort.”
A yr-spherical floor was an excessive-priority for the affiliation. At the same time, it teamed with the city to find, flag, and ultimately help construct greater than 6 miles of recent park trails in 2017 — probably the biggest recreational infusion in 8 many years into the park at Medford’s eastern aspect.
“It’s an extraordinary asset that we have right here proper in our outside, and the terrain is beautiful,” says Michael Bronze, the affiliation’s founder and an everyday park rider. “But it’s unrideable in iciness. It’s great-sticky when moist. The dust sticks to the whole lot. In this manner, everyone can use them and revel in all of the wintry weather lengthy.”
The Greenhorn Trail is a superb place to begin as it’s much less demanding than the Black Diamond downhill path, which also turned into constructed two years ago and fast has become a favorite of mountain bikers here.
The Greenhorn Trail is certainly one of treasured few yr-spherical mountain-cycling trails casual sufficient for riders unnerved via steeper, faster routes.
“It also opens it up for some of the much less-professional riders who don’t need to go on a bumpy, sticky trail,” rider Bill Matson says.
The resurfacing is a new chapter within the lengthy story of Prescott Park, which has extra downs than the USA since the town, with the assist of Lion’s Club, long-established the 1,741-acre park in two land acquisitions in 1930 and ‘31, making it 2nd handiest to Portland’s Forest Park in Oregon for municipal park acreage.
Its principal function is Roxy Ann Peak, whose three,571-foot elevation stands 2,200 toes above the Rogue Valley floor.
The park is called for George J. Prescott, a Medford police constable, Lion’s Club member, and early park champion, who become shot and killed on March sixteen, 1933.
Armed with a warrant, Prescott went to a North Peach Street domestic that day to arrest Llewellyn Banks to steal ballots from the Jackson County Courthouse. Banks’ spouse answered the door then attempted to slam it closed when Prescott stuck his foot between the door and the jamb.
That’s when Banks fired a looking rifle via the door, hanging Prescott in the chest.
The town named the park after Prescott in 1937, about the time the Civilian Conservation Corps completed construction of the inaugural trails, a picnic ground, and some homes. But little else become accomplished in the ensuing a long time, and by the point the metropolis wrote the park’s first master plan in 1984, it becomes tormented by forgetting.
The hillsides recognized for his or her vintage-increase poison okaystands slowly received extra interest. However, the massive push came in 2017 when the metropolis, together with the mountain motorbike association, constructed 6.4 miles of the latest path through equal clingy clay as the antique ones.
The Greenhorn Trail resurfacing, now not most effective, serve as an appetizer for the full meal parks, and volunteers hope subsequently to cook up for the park; it additionally demonstrates the uphill climb as they resurface the closing trails and approximately 20 miles of future trails mentioned in the park’s modern-day master plan.
Cox says the 300 lots of decomposed granite and 7.Five lots of gravel value $4,780, and contractors have been paid $13,275 for grading, spreading, compacting, and completing the trail with the assist of extra than 50 hours of volunteer exertions — a good deal of it from the RVMBA.
The work also blanketed reinforcing the trail surface with armoring rock at five regions. The Greenhorn Trail already changed into washing out because of rogue trails cast through-hikers climbing via it, Cox says.
Bronze says the path already is better, faster, and more secure for mountain bikers.
It ought to take a complete 12 months for the new surface to harden, but already it’s adding to a rejuvenation of driving hobby in Prescott Park.