The Mount Emily Recreation Area is finally open and will welcome just about anybody including ATV riders, mountain bikers, archers, hunters, horseback riders, mushroom pickers, sightseers, photographers and more.

Union County bought the 3,600-acre property last year from Forest Capital Partners, using a $4.4 million grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's ATV program after a long process of public hearings and community meetings.

As weather improved this spring, local volunteers took to the woods and made things ready. Brush was cleared, trails were opened and marked. More work will be done when more grant money comes in after July 1.

The recreation area stretches from Fox Hill Road on the west end of Mount Emily to a point near Igo Lane to the east.

Forest Capital is donating manpower and equipment to grade the parking area and build campsites.

The Fox Hill landing is the only place in the recreation area where overnight camping will be allowed. Two day-use areas are being constructed.

There still will be some inconvenience this summer because of Forest Capital logging operations through fall. Some roads and trails will be closed Mondays through Fridays.

The main log-hauling routes will be Fox Hill Road, Igo Lane and Owsley Canyon Road.

Rules applying to motorized uses closely follow state statutes. ATV stickers will be required and Class I and III ATVs must be equipped with spark arrestors.

Motorized use is restricted to the designated trails. People causing environmental damage could face heavy penalties, up to triple the amount of damage.

Fires are limited to designated areas and fireworks are prohibited. Hunting is allowed according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife rules, but target shooting is forbidden.

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