Urban Exploration

Urban exploration has been defined as the “exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment” and often has an historical aspect. While this typically involves structures in and around urban areas, some urban explorers reach out to old mining camps, ghost towns and the like that are far from urban areas.   I’d like to propose another urban exploration opportunity – exploration of old logging railroads and logging camps.  The evidence of these man-made structures is scattered around the forest lands of the American west.

Unlike some urban exploits,  this category can take place on public lands – typically National Forests – without the fear of arrest for trespassing.  Exploring the remains of logging also gets you into some great and extremely scenic places (the trees have long ago grown back).  With careful planning and some help from the local ranger station,  you can even design your own loop trail along the remains of old logging railroads.  Those remains are typically slightly raised grades and rotted cross ties.  Along the way, you’ll also spot some of the historic trash left behind when logging was completed.

One major segment of a railroad logging system was in service until the latter part of the last century and has now been designated the OC&E Woods Line State Trail in Oregon.  Its a great place to start your exploration of historic logging railroads.  I have access to three books with many details on the railroad logging of the forests in south-central Oregon.  My intent is to scan those books and make them available to members of our Discover Club.

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