Nordic club gets the OK to mark Fish Lake trail

    For years the wide trail between Fish Lake and Lake of the Woods has presented cross-country skiers with myriad experiences that only most of the time were fond.

    Many skiers gliding on nine miles of snow atop the popular summer biking trail had a perfect run from one lake resort to the other, and then back for those with hearty lungs and stout thighs.

    But plenty of others found themselves accidentally missing part of the trail, ending up tired and cold while trying to cruise through lava fields in search of paradise lost.

    "It's a beautiful trail," says Ruby Edwards of Butte Falls, a Nordic skier. "A lot of people have been on it but never want to do it again because they got lost."

    But that will change now because the trail is being laced with diamonds that are a skier's best friend.

    The Grants Pass Nordic Ski Club has convinced the Fremont-Winema National Forest to let it place blue diamond trail markers along the winter route between the two High Cascades lakes.

    The group will form work parties this weekend to mark the trail.

    "After an 11-year battle, we are finally going to get blue diamonds," Edwards says.

    The High Lakes Trail is a popular summer destination for hikers and bikers who work the 9.3 miles between the Fish Lake and Lake of the Woods resorts along a packed gravel trail that is as wheelchair accessible as any found in the High Cascades.

    For years, skiers have wanted to see their boards, boots and poles added to the mix on this multi-use trail.

    "We're a multi-use, too," Edwards says.

    Her ilk began to visit Fremont-Winema National Forest recreation meetings in hopes of getting the trail marked for them, but the effort fell on deaf ears, Edwards says.

    Then new Klamath Ranger District Ranger Margaret Bailey came on board, and Edwards explained how poor trail signs have led to lost skiers.

    "She explained what the problem was, so I said, 'we'll get you some diamonds,' " Bailey says. "And she has the volunteers lined up to do it. It's all pretty easy."

    The actual signing of the trail will be tougher than it appears, Edwards says.

    The blue diamonds, which indicate a cross-country ski trail, have to be placed about 10 feet up trees so they will be readily visible to skiers regardless of the snow conditions.

    But that means walking the trail with ladders to inch up the trunks of Ponderosa pines to mark the trail, Edwards says.

    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email

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