A plan by the U.S. Forest Service to increase the trail network in Crook County is designed to ease congestion and conflicts between mountain bikers and horse riders. But just as the agency tries to reduce entanglements between trail users, it’s finding that not all are on board, including Crook County officials.

Objections — as well as support — poured into the U.S. Forest Service last year after it released initial plans for its Lemon Gulch Trail System Project, planned for an area around 15 miles northeast of Prineville. The agency could get more of the same conflicting viewpoints when it opens up a 30-day comment period this summer for the project, following the release of an Environmental Assessment.

Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter

Reporter: 541-617-7818,


Michael Kohn has been public lands and environment reporter with The Bulletin since 2019. He enjoys hiking in the hills and forests near Bend with his family and exploring the state of Oregon.

(7) comments


I've ridden thousands of miles on Central Oregon trails on my mountain bike and have rarely ever witnessed trail user conflicts. Most trail users here participate in more than one of the three main trail uses -- hiking/biking/equestrians -- so they understand the other users' needs when meeting them on the trail. Regional growth is real and will continue, and these are public lands, so the Forest Service is attempting to accommodate an increased number of trail users.


If Prineville residents want their kids to grow up and stay in Prineville, they should support this recreational opportunity. If they want the kids to grow up and leave, and be replaced by transplants, then they should oppose the trail system. Do you want the kids doing healthy stuff, or sitting in their trucks drinking beer?


We don’t have enough natural areas to enjoy. Our national parks are overwhelmed. Our state parks fill campgrounds months in advance. We need this type of development but the opposition thinks it’s their private land. To those who don’t want more people in Their community, I ask, how many kids and grandkids do you have? These are the people who want and need to be outdoors in a safe area.


This is common elsewhere. A great rails-to-trails project in Yamhill county was stalled and maybe killed off by the farmers whose property borders the right of way, and who see the land as theirs, though it never had been. They ran a big-money campaign to elect a stealth commissioner, who quickly voted to kill the project. The days of the Banks-Vernonia Trail cooperation appeared to be over. One commissioner has literally said, if you want a park, buy a park. In this case the counry already owned the land.


It seems that Mr. Sexton is concerned about his private hunting grounds being visited by other folks.


All those that threaten to move to Idaho, please do.



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.