Project Leader: Tyler Kimble Project Dates: April 19 - September 12 Members Arrive June 2
Hitch 7 
Our seventh and final hitch was also our most diverse and differnent in terms of projects. Because the SCA and the Forest Service's agreement stated that 10% of our time this summer would be dedicated to developed recreation projects, we spent most of this final hitch doing just that. All the projects were concentrated around the Tollgate area, a high elevation, mountainous area that is especially well-suited to winter recreation; cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, etc. For the first few days, we installed and adjusted signs in "Sno-Park" parking lots. Some of the signs we moved and replanted were ones that were simply planted in the snow the season before and had fallen over when the snow melted in the spring. Then we went over to Horseshoe Prairie, series of cross-country ski trails built in a stacked loop system. In addition to installing and replanting signs directing the skiers where to go, we brushed the ski corridor, which was interesting since we had to shift the whole focus area 10 feet up because that's the level the snow pack reaches in the winter!
Mid-hitch, we had a fun project in which we assembled beautiful, brand-new picnic tables and placed them in the Target Meadows campground. Corrollary to this task was deconstructing the old picnic tables that were built in the 1960s. And in truth, breaking apart the old tables with crowbars and sledgehammers was possibly more fun than building the new ones! We placed the old lumber in the "boneyard" behind the Tollgate work center so that they could be recycled for use in later projects.
For the last part of the hitch, we worked in around the gorgeous Jubilee Lake, the crown jewel of the Walla Walla district, at least from our experience. After replanting a bulletin board here, we brushed the whole 2.6 miles of trail around the lake, which was actually in decent shape to begin with because of the high use the trail gets. Indeed, it was odd to have hikers pass and chat with us with such regularity. But we also enjoyed the mostly positive things they had to say about our work.
Well, that about wraps up the summer for Umatilla 3! Hitch 7 was a great way to go out, especially because we got to do new and interesting projects and got to use a bunch of tools that had previously sat unused in our trailer (or were borrowed): polesaw, chainsaw, post-hole digger, tamping bar, power drill, impact hammer, level, measuring tape, crowbar, and more. The final figures for the work accomplished this hitch are as follows:
New signposts installed: 9
Signposts straightened or moved: 17
Length of trail brushed: 2.6 miles
Length of tread restored: 150 feet
New picnic tables assembled: 5
Old picnic tables disassembled: 11
Bulletin boards put together and stained: 6
Hitch 6 
On our 6th Hitch we got a great start on a new trail, 9 mile trail, which is on a high ridge that starts at 5000 ft. Incidentally enough, the total length of the trail is 7.1 miles, but "9 mile" rolls off the tongue better I suppose! This was a great overall hitch, with high spirits and a lot of progress made brushing and re-treading. The trailhead was hard to find, since not much is labeled in this part of the forest. Perhaps that's why most of the people we saw were hunters who knew the region very well. In fact, we were conspicuous due to our lack of camoflauge; everyone seemed to be wearing it except for us! We even camped in what is normally a hunter's camp, with hanging racks here and there about the place.
We were also pleased to welcome SCA's NorthWest Program Manager, Tyler Lobdell, to our camp and worksite for a couple of days. Boy can that guy make a fine drain dip! His drawing skills could use a little polishing though ;) Luckily that's not usually a talent in high demand when you're managing trail crews. Anyway, below you'll find some figures for the work we accomplished as well as some cool pictures:
Total distance brushed: 1.36 miles
Total distance of tread restored: 1.2 miles
Hitch 5 
We finally finished Buck Creek trail! It felt so good to shovel off that last pile of dirt and finally hike back to our bunkhouse, admiring the entirety of our work along the way. Luckily there was also a little more variety in the trail maintenance department this hitch; in addition to tread repair, we also got to bust out the crosscut saw to clear some blow down trees out of the way, the double jack sledgehammer to crush some massive rocks poking out of the tread, and do various odds and ends that we missed the first time through the trail. Camp life was happy and jovial for the most part; we got to use the same very nice site as last hitch and by now it feels like home for us. After dinner many rounds of Citadels and Extreme Pictionary were played, "hot ice cream" was enjoyed over the campfire, and a vigorous amount of reading was accomplished. Here are the stats for Hitch 5:
Blowdowns cleared: 25
Total Distance Brushed: 1742.4 ft
Total Distance of Tread Repaired: 3432 ft
Next up: Nine Mile trail! We'll only get a taste of this ridgeline beauty before we spend our 7th and final hitch working for the developed recreation department, improving campsites in the Umatilla National Forest.
Hitch 4 
On our fourth hitch we finally got a chance to go backpacking and camp in the backcountry! We were all a little too used our frontcountry luxuries and overloaded our packs to the point where the 3.2 mile hike in was brutal, to say the least. But we made it and were able to enjoy lots of fresh fruits and veggies, not to mention roasted marshmallows. We camped along Buck Creek and while weren't able to fully swim each day after work, per se, we could still dunk our heads in and cool off that way.
With the much shortened hike in and out each day, we were able to accomplish a lot more, despite being down a member for the majority of the hitch. Again, the work was mainly tread restoration, but some brushing and rock crushing was called for as well. I'd say that our crew has become tread experts by now, bench-cutting and backsloping our way to glory. Here are the (more easily measureable) figures for the work we accomplished on this hitch:
Total distance brushed: 0.61 miles
Total distance of tread restored: 0.57 miles
Hitch 3 
Our third hitch was all about soldiering on as vigilant tread troopers. Rocks started to show their pointy, stubborn faces, but yielded to the ceaseless pressure of double jack sledgehammer assault. Neither could toppled trees or fast growing annuals block the path any longer. Yes, Buck Creek was fast becoming more and more accessible and pleasant to hike.
We camped for this hitch at the venerable Umatilla Forks Campground, a swarthy and stalwart companion for a beleaguered trail crew. Not only did it do the job, but it provided a veritable godsend in the form of a deep swimming hole right behind our campsite along the Umatilla River. This was especially needed because the sweltering temperatures on the trail began to push 100 degrees during the day. So right after we got back to camp we raced out to the swimming hole to cool off and clean off. The developed campground also allowed us to socialize after work beyond our inner circle, though trying to sleep with music blaring at midnight was less than ideal. C'mon guys, some of us have to work on Sunday.
We're looking forward to being able to backpack in for our next hitch, as the trail finally flattens out to allow for camp to be set up. Every day we grow more enamored with this lovely northeastern Oregon trail despite (or perhaps because of) the 2+ mile hike in every morning (and out every afternoon). Hopefully, with the trail in ship shape, more people will take the time to hike it and and share this appreciation. Like the gentleman we met on horseback who was so grateful to us because for years he couldn't ride the trail due to the fallen trees and battered tread. It's good to know we're making a difference.
Hitch 2 
To start our second hitch, we spent the first 3 days finishing up the 70 foot turnpike on Buck Creek trail that we began building on the previous hitch. Now it's complete and looking fantastic. Check out the photos below to see the finished product. The amount of rocks, crushed rocks, and dirt involved in this project was massive and necessitated a significant restoration effort when everything was completed. In addition, we added a layer of permeable felt between rock layers to allow water to drain while keeping the top layer of dirt in place. The turnpike will serve the trail well for decades to come and it's definitely a point of pride on our crew!
After finishing the turnpike, we soldiered on to the trail ahead, finding many areas that could use improvement. Principal among these needs was repairing the trail tread, and this was what we spent most of our time doing. In addition, we spent a good chuck of time brushing out the corridor and did a few hours worth of crosscut saw work. On our last day, a pair of hikers passed by and couldn't believe the difference from the overgrown and unmaintained upper section of the trail to the prim and open lower section that we were working on; "You're making this too easy for us!" they joked. We're just trying to make it pleasant and sustainable. Mission Accomplished.
Allie Hausladen 
Allie Hausladen was born in Boulder, Colorado, on December 19th, 1988. After living ten years in snowy Colorado, Allie and her family moved to Austin, Texas - a similar city in culture, but worlds different in both geography and weather. Now Allie is 21 years old and entering her fourth year at Stanford University studying Earth Systems. This year's SCA crew in the Umatilla National Forest will be Allie's second SCA experience. Last year she was a member of a 2-month crew in the Delaware Water Gap of western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylavania. Last year's experience got Allie interested in focusing her studies on agriculture and land management at Stanford. Also in the past year, Allie has spent 5 months abroad. Four months of this time she was studying in Moscow, Russia. The remaining month she was working on organic farms in France - 2 weeks on a goat cheese farm and 2 weeks on a community farm. After her crew this summer, Allie will be finishing up school while living in a co-op and working as a student advisor for the Earth Systems department. And after that...who knows! Hobbies include: hiking, gardening, cooking & learning about food, snowboarding, and reading. Wants to learn: knots, harmonica, and knitting.
Marshall Richardson 
Marshall hails from Montclair, New Jersey, a suburb in the shadows of New York City. After escaping fourteen-and-a-half years of public school, he began his career as an outdoor laborer. After spending some time on an up and coming organic farm outside of Durham, North Carolina, he discovered SCA. He now anxiously awaits a summer on the Umatilla trail team.
Hitch 1 
On our first hitch we spent the first 6 days brushing out overgrown plants and branches from the trail, covering about a mile in total, and fixing the trail tread (walking surface) which was in some areas severely outsloped from repeated horse use over the years. The total amount of tread we rebuilt (essentially) was about half a mile - quite of lot - and walking it now is a much more pleasant experience! Part of the maintenance of the tread also involved micro-blasting large rocks that were too big to break open with the double jack sledgehammers. Simon and Scott from the Forest Service came out and demonstrated the process, even letting us pull the detonation trigger most of the time (don't worry, it's not as explosive as it sounds - and luckily no certifications were needed).
Then we spent the second half of the hitch building a 70 foot rock turnpike in an area of the trail sunken under about a foot of water. The river had apparently shifted course, flooding this stretch of trail, and a reroute was impossible with the steep cliffs on the other side. No complaints from us - it was a dirty, wet, and muddy adventure to set the boundary rocks (not to mention fun!). We're still working on finishing it up, but already much of the water has been diverted and it's much more walkable than it previously was.
All in all, a wonderful start to the summer!
Dushan Yovovich 
Dushan's father is a mathematician turned writer, and his mother an engineer-minded artist and metal smith. Stemming from the responsibility of passing on the Yovovich heritage comes a student of interdisciplinarity, holistic perspective and the pursuit of sustainable healthfulness. Dushan has spent his efforts toward said goals by environmental restoration of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in the Mojave desert, working as an organic farmer in Vermont, urban landscaping in Chicago and most recently as a student of the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is a fan of self-propagating electromagnetic waves and SET the card game.
Ben Atencio 
Ben is from Huntington Beach, California. Since a child he had been
taught to respect and enjoy the outdoors. He has camped all around
California, from the arid and rundown area of Salton Sea to the
isolated and verdant Lost Coast. His favorite activities are soccer,
swimming, bodysurfing, cycling, and of course- camping.
Ben graduated from UC Santa Cruz in the Fall of 2009 with a BS in
Marine Biology. His passion for conservation has brought him to SCA's
Trail Corps. He wants to pursue a career in marine conservation,
focusing on sustainable fisheries. He will be part of Umatilla
National Forest Crew 3 and is excited to make new friends, build new
trails. and have a great time!
Tyler Kimble 
Tyler grew up in the heart of cheesehead country, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Moving back and forth from hobbies ranging from graphic design to card games to film, he finally settled on a Anthropology degree and an Environmental Studies minor from the University of Wisconsin. Running with the environmental side of his coursework, he put it into practice with his first SCA corps member position as part of the Mt. Rainier Recovery Corps in Washington. Here he shoveled snow trails, built hiking trails, pulled weeds, revegetated riparian areas, and generally had a grand old time. He followed this up with a short stint as part of the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources's State Parks Trails Crew, also building new trail to repair flood damage in Southwestern Wisconsin. Two more SCA corps positions followed, one in Florida where he built two fantastic bridges, and one in Idaho, where he did more trail work in addition to visitor use surveys and natural resource projects. He's currently excited to be leading a crew in the rugged and beautiful Umatilla National Forest of Northeastern Oregon and Washington!
Brittni Kraft 
Brittni was born and raised in Northeast Iowa in the small town of Waverly. She went to the University of Northern Iowa and graduated last May with a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Science with an Interpretive Naturalist emphasis. Her greatest interests growing up were camping, swimming, kayaking, hiking, hunting, and fishing. The outdoors still plays a big role in her life. In the summer of 2008, she got her first Student Conservation Association volunteer position at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Northern Wisconsin. She thought it was the greatest job ever because she got to spend the summer kayaking and giving programs on the Namekagon River! In the summer of 2009, she had the opportunity to work with the SCA again, as a visitor services intern, at the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in southwest Wyoming and Northeast Utah. The SCA called again for the summer of 2010; a trail corps position in Umatilla National Forest was open. She gladly accepted. She is ready to work hard this summer and get the experience of a lifetime.
We are lucky enough to have the privilege of working in a beautiful area of the Northwest called the Umatilla National Forest, which takes its name from the Indian word meaning "water rippling over sand." The whole forest encompasses 1.4 million acres, but the section our crew will be working in, the North Fork of the Umatilla Wilderness in the Walla Walla District, makes up 20,144 of those acres. Beginning in June, we will start our 16 weeks of service, clearing and maintaining backcountry trails as well as fulfilling other various conservation projects as needed. Be sure to check back throughout the summer to hear more about the exciting work we will have accomplished!