The following press release was issued by the Mendocino Coast Cyclists:
The Mendocino Coast Cyclists (MCC) along with Cal Fire, is excited to announce the completion of a brand new stretch of multi-use trail, in the Jackson State Demonstration Forest (JDSF). This new trail known as Observatory Trail, is 2.2 miles in length, and adds a very important linkage allowing pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians to avoid the hazardous section of road from the intersection of Road 408 and Road 700, enroute to Forest History and Manly Gulch trails. Observatory Trail has connected and expanded JDSF’s existing trail system, building towards a more cohesive trail experience. This beautiful new trail weaves through a stand of second growth forest consisting of redwoods and douglas fir. It has two climbs totaling 1000’ of elevation gain from bottom to top, and the trail can be enjoyed equally moving in either direction. Within the body of the trail are groupings of sweeping turns that give the trail a playful nature while allowing for elevation gain and loss. This trail is approachable for trail users of all skill levels.
The opening of Observatory Trail is a milestone in many ways. Getting the green light to build this trail took a year of pre-planning for environmental assessments, and trail line layout and approval. The trail line was thoughtfully laid out and flagged with several design constraints being considered at all times, by local trail designer and MCC Trail Boss Nick Taylor, along with critical input from Erik Wahl of CalFire. Notably, this is the first machine-built trail in JDSF. Progressive Trail Design was hired as the main trail building entity; they are experts in the field of recreational trail building and pride themselves on solely building single track trails with small machines. Observatory Trail was constructed using two low-impact mini excavators, which are specialized low-impact machines that have a variable track width of only 30-36”, thereby keeping the trail bed narrow and significantly minimizing disturbance. Using these small machines allowed this trail to be built in a record-setting time frame, seven weeks in total, from start to finish. Mr.Taylor said that had we not been fortunate enough to have a trail sponsor providing funding to hire a trail building entity such as Progressive Trail Design, that it would have taken our trail building club which meets one day per month, several years to build this trail. Progressive Trail Design took the lead on building the trail, and the Steam Donkey’s– MCC’s volunteer trail crew– lended collectively hundreds of hours of their time to finesse the freshly cut trail line by removing roots from the trail bed, removing trash from illegal dumping off of road 408, and raking the trail bed for a smooth surface with out-sloping for proper drainage.
This trail was built through the generous sponsorship from the foundation, One Track Mind (OTM). OTM funds the building and maintenance of world-class trails across the United States. OTM and MCC are proud to be partners with their shared goal of advocating for, building, and maintaining incredible trail systems.
One Track Mind has been extremely generous in providing all of the funds to build this trail, and with trusting that MCC would design and manage its construction to the fullest extent.
The trail was completed in September of 2020, but it was closed to users in the winter to protect the trail while the season’s rains helped to compact the soil, ensuring a longer trail lifetime once re-opened. It is with great anticipation that we are able to finally announce that this truly special trail is now open for all users to enjoy!
This trail has a brand new sign marking its beginning point, as seen in the enclosed picture. This beginning point can be found at the intersection of Road 408 and Road 700. For a point of reference Road 700, is the road that takes visitors to the Woodlands camp. There is a turnout at this intersection
I’m pondering a great lollipop loop starting here, and going down either Forest History Trail, or Manly Gulch, and coming back up on the other.