With Great Change Comes A Little Disruption

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The following 20/20 Blog post was authored by Todd McKinney, Park Ranger at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

I know. This headline probably sounds more like the ominous declaration of a super villain than my attempted play on the “great power/great responsibility” catchphrase of a certain web-slinging superhero. Maybe it’s that last word, “disruption.” I think we can agree that change can be a good thing, but disrupting something familiar can be uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, that’s what we’re asking visitors to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge to be okay with - a little disruption in exchange for some long-term great change for wildlife and people.

This Saturday and Sunday, July 13th and 14th, marks the visual beginning of the much anticipated Chicken Creek Restoration Project. The Refuge will receive a delivery of large woody debris these two days, that will be staged near the restoration project site. Due to the amount of material being delivered and the frequent flow of large, tree-hauling trucks coming in and out of the Refuge, we will be closing a large section of the Wetlands Seasonal Trail this weekend.

Download a printable PDF   (will also be available at the Refuge)

Download a printable PDF (will also be available at the Refuge)

Safety First

While you may not see trucks and other large equipment active every moment of the day this weekend, know that they aren’t far off. To access the project site, they need to use the service road that is typically the southern crossing section of the Wetlands Seasonal Trail (along the lateral ditch). The trucks will enter the Refuge at the circle near the 99W entrance, drive along the service road, unload, turn around near the small bridge by the Refuge Wayside, then return to the circle and exit back onto 99W. It is expected there will be at least one truck through the Refuge per hour.

As I’m sure you can imagine, frequent large trucks and trail walkers sharing a small strip of road is not a good recipe. As a precaution, Refuge staff have decided to close a portion of the Wetland Seasonal Trail, closest to the truck route (see map). The closures will be clearly marked.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You will only be able to access the open portions of the Wetlands Seasonal Trail by heading North from the Visitor Center or by parking at the Wayside.

  • The trailhead that heads South from the Visitor Center and the trailhead by the bus stop will be closed.

  • The section of the Wetlands Seasonal Trail that runs North-South closest to the Visitor Center (the Crossing Trail), will be closed halfway down from the North. Look for the barrier to know when to turn around.

These measures are to keep the public and delivery crew safe during the delivery. That is our top priority. Be sure to say hi to our friendly staff and volunteers, who will be on hand to provide direction and share the incredible story of this amazing change coming to the Refuge.

An example of placing woody debris in a stream restoration project. Photo by Inter-Fluve, Inc.

An example of placing woody debris in a stream restoration project. Photo by Inter-Fluve, Inc.

So whatcha using all this wood for?

I’m glad you asked. As the restoration project progresses, the wood, mainly in the form of large tree trunks, will be placed throughout the project site. You’ll see wood clusters in the floodplain, as well as some trunks installed vertically, mimicking tree snags. Several trees will be wedged directly into the banks of the realigned Chicken Creek.

The debris will help create habitat for wildlife. For instance, aquatic species will find resting and rearing space where the logs slow down the flow of water. In addition, the wood will provide erosion control, keeping the surrounding soil along Chicken Creek from washing away downstream.