Cape Horn Meeting Planned
Once destined to be developed as a housing subdivision, the Cape Horn area of the Columbia Gorge is now moving closer to becoming an official public recreation area administered by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (CRGNSA). On Wed. March 18, the CRGNSA will host a public meeting to gather input on how to develop a trail system that will be safe, sustainable and also showcase Cape Horn’s outstanding scenic and recreational value.
Over 20 years ago, Friends of the Columbia Gorge founder Nancy Russell spearheaded an effort to acquire property atop Cape Horn to preserve it as a public park. With help from many individual donors as well as the Trust for Public Lands and the CRGNSA, several key properties have been purchased and turned over to the Forest Service.
At the same time a group of local hiking enthusiasts gradually developed a 7-mile user-built loop trail connecting scenic vistas atop Cape Horn to a spectacular waterfall below Highway 14. The Cape Horn Trail is an instant hit with hikers thirsty for a rugged route on the sunny side of the Gorge.
Although many would like to see this route adopted into an official trail plan, concerns over user safety and impacts to sensitive flora and fauna are a major sticking point. Specifically, the lower section of the loop has issues. It skirts steep cliffs, traverses talus slopes, passes beneath a waterfall and a Peregrine falcon nesting site. In short, the route visits rare and unique places coveted by hikers, but also by some rare and sensitive plants and animals.
A public meeting to review potential re-routes and discuss an alternative that includes a seasonal closure is scheduled for 6-8 pm, March 18 at the Rock Creek Center, 710 S.W. Rock Creek Drive in Stevenson, WA
What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy hiking at Cape Horn? To see a preliminary alternatives and a map developed last year, visit this site.
WTA welcomes your input, post your comments on the blog here or contact Ryan Ojerio, WTA's Southwest WA Regional Coordinator via e-mail or (360) 722-2657.