Dave Hiatt is a pathfinder; an explorer of trails less traveled who will often cover 70 miles in a day aboard his “observe trials” style motorcycle.
In nearly fifty years of backcountry work, the Oregon Dept of Forestry Trail Manager has never lost the itch to see country most folks don’t even know exists.
Hiatt takes the bumps, dips and near wrecks in stride as he rides old roads to design new trails in the Tillamook State Forest.
“I built my first trail in 1963 and that kind of dates me I suppose, “ Hiatt noted with a chuckle. “But I am still doing it and I love every minute.”
Hiatt especially enjoys exploring the more than 400 miles of so-called “legacy” roads in the Tillamook State Forest.
They are leftover roads that date back to the salvage logging operations that occurred in the forest following the several famous catastrophic fires collectively called “Tillamook Burns.”
These days the legacy roads are coming undone and need repair and Hiatt is charged with closing some or retrofitting others for both motorized and non-motorized recreation use.
“Most of these trails were built when there were no trees. They are actually old cat roads from the burn and they are in such tough shape, on such steep ground, I cannot get trail builders to do the kind of work required to make them usable – not by hand – the crews won’t do the work and that’s what makes the ST240 so special!”
The Single Track 240 is a new machine that gives recreation life to old work roads and the trail building world has never seen anything like it.
The ST240 is a blader, a grader, a backhoe and more. It is remote controlled with joysticks and buttons, so technicians can stand aside and let the trail machine lead the way.
It is powered by a 36-hp turbo diesel engine; but best of all, the track is only 24 inches wide, noted the machine’s inventor Barrett Brown of Single Track Tools.
Brown is an Oregon native who designed and built the machine in North Plains, Oregon.
He said that best of all, the ST240 can cut trail that is 24 inches wide which means you don’t have to cut down trees to build new trails.
“Folks who ride – whether on mountain bikes or motorbikes – are excited by the possibilities of this machine. In fact, they love the fact the trees are left behind – it creates more of a riding challenge. The more trees the better.”
Furthermore, the ST240 is cost effective and efficient. Hiatt noted that a mile of hand built trail could cost up to 45-thousand dollars in steep, rocky sections of the coast range.
The new machine can do it for less than half that cost and stay within environmental regulations and trail building standards too.
Brown added: “The greatest satisfaction is knowing that someone is going to use that trail the next day and they will leave saying – ‘Wow, can you believe that section back there.’ That’s what makes it cool!”