Forest closed at night

This letter is in response to the recent article “Night riders” by Zach Urness, published Jan. 23, which identified the McDonald Forest as a prime location for after-dark riding. We want to let your readers know that all OSU College Forests are actually closed to visitors from dusk until dawn for safety reasons.

The College Forests include the McDonald and Dunn forests near Corvallis and are owned and managed by the OSU College of Forestry. While outdoor recreation is not part of the official mission of the forests, we maintain a strong recreation program, complete with 24 miles of well-maintained trails, as our contribution to the health and happiness of the local community.

It is very important to us to offer high quality opportunities to mountain bikers. However, it is necessary for us to clearly articulate uses that are not allowed on the forest. For example, we do not allow people to use “unauthorized” trails located on the forest, which are created directly by users, do not meet our standards for design, construction or maintenance and can cause damage to resources. Our dusk-to-dawn closure is posted on all official entry points and enforced by Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Visitors may find themselves faced with some hefty trespassing fines for entering the forest after dark.

Come visit us during daylight hours, and we’ll show you some spectacular views and thrilling trails! For more information about our trails, visit our website at: www .cof.orst.edu/cf/.

John Mann

Director of OSU College Forests, Corvallis