“The success of the Matrix trail construction project is a model of how partnerships can benefit outdoor recreation and reduce resource impacts. I am excited to build on the relationships that were developed during this project.”
-Mike Liu, District Ranger, Methow Valley District of the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest
This project came about in large part through the support of the National Forest Foundation. The NFF has embarked on a three year project to work with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and local partners to restore the “majestic landscape” of the upper Methow Valley. As part of this effort, they are supporting local efforts aimed toward habitat restoration, a 2016 campaign to limit mining in the Methow Valley, Read more about the Foundation and the majestic landscape program at their webpage.
The Matrix at Mazama, Washington. Photo courtesy Goats Bear Mountain Supply.
A variety of regulations and a management agreement between the Forest Service and the Department of Fish and Wildlife make the addition of new trails in the North Cascades region very difficult. Simply put: the Forest Service cannot allow users to build trails.
In 2014 a climber was working on an access trail at a Mazama, Washington, Crag known as “The Matrix” when he was ticketed for building an unapproved trail. Local climbers leapt to his defense, however, and a remarkable thing happened. District Ranger Mike Liu was open to discussion, and the National Forest Foundation assisted with a collaborative effort to complete environmental review and other efforts necessary to formally approve a new trail serving the crag. In five short months the trail at The Matrix became one of the first new trails added in the District in years.
Ranger Liu working along side climbers at The Matrix. Natalie Kuehler photo.
A May 30, 2015, trail project was as much a celebration as a work day. Methow District staff worked along side local climbers from about age five to age sixty five, and created a new trail.