The area of the Banks Vernonia State Trail that is undergoing repairs. Photo: OPRD

COLUMBIA COUNTY - A 2 ½ mile stretch of the Banks Vernonia State Trail is closed for repairs beginning Monday, July 20 between the Beaver Creek Trailhead and McDonald Road. 

According to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the portion of the trail is in “rough shape” and will require repairs to the shoulder of the trail that are scheduled to end September 30. 

According to Chris Havel, a spokesperson for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the area was damaged by flooding several years ago, with erosion undermining the bank in the area.

The bank will be restored, and then rocks and plants added to resist future erosion; 75% of the funding for the estimated $200,000 cost of the project comes from FEMA funds from the initial flooding.

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"Our budget includes a share of lottery proceeds to help fund maintenance," Havel said. "Lottery funds are precarious right now so we’ve suspended most maintenance projects, but we decided it’d be better to spend a little of our reserves than to let the federal money expire."

During the closure, there will be no available alternate trail route.

Oregon State Parks also noted that the stargazing area at the Hilltop day-use area at Stub Stewart State Park is open only to those camping at the park. Traditionally, the site has been open to day use park users as well.

“Because of limited staff due to COVID-19, the park is closed to stargazing after hours unless you're camping,” Oregon State Parks said on their Facebook page. 

This article has been updated with more information from OPRD spokesperson Chris Havel.