Thanks to a partnership between Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust and the Washington Trails Association (WTA) that takes advantage of the latter group's expertise at volunteer-built trails, the existing trail at the land trust's Lyle Cherry Orchard preserve has been altered and enhanced, making the lower part of the trail less treacherous and opening up new vistas from this eastern Gorge jewel.
This project involves the development of two new loop trails, built upon the original trail. The Cherry Orchard Loop trail is already open, providing new viewpoints and an additional 0.6-mile of trail through unique oak forests and rugged landscapes.
Now, after being delayed for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic, small groups of socially-distanced WTA volunteer trail builders are constructing another loop at the Cherry Orchard preserve: the Lyle Loop trail, accessing the preserve's northwest corner. This loop construction will provide an additional two miles of new trail, as well as feature views from a higher elevation than the Cherry Orchard Loop.
Photos by Tom Griffith, Gabe Smith, and Gail Wayper. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
According to Stasia Honnold of WTA, between Nov. 12-15, 2020, WTA trail crews put in 173 total hours of work on site: "Over the four days, our crews built 1,000 feet of new tread!"