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home : education : schools May 26, 2018

4/24/2018 6:32:00 PM
Renowned trail writer to speak in Sisters
Trail writer and author Bill Sullivan is seen here on the Otter Bench Trail above the Crooked River. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Trail writer and author Bill Sullivan is seen here on the Otter Bench Trail above the Crooked River. photo provided

By Craig Rullman

One of the Northwest's best-known and well-respected trail writers will be speaking in Sisters next week. For many years, William L. "Bill" Sullivan has been the go-to source for trail and hiking information in our area. He is the author of 22 books, including the updated "100 Hikes" series; and his "100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades" is considered by many to be the hiking bible for Sisters Country.

His presentation will highlight recent changes and additions to local hiking options and will include a slide show featuring the exceptional photography for which his presentations have become known. The event is co-sponsored by Paulina Springs Books and the Sisters Trails Alliance (STA).

Over the last four years, STA has sponsored a series of public talks focused on local outdoor recreation and natural-resource issues. The Bjarne Holm Speaker Series was launched by the late Bjarne Holm, for whom STA named the series in 2016. Since its inception, the purpose of STA's series has been to enhance outdoor public recreation opportunities in the Sisters area and to educate the public about the natural world.

Regarding the upcoming event, Catherine Hayden, STA's current board chair, said, "Bill Sullivan's presentations are very engaging. Beyond great photos and insight into the specifics of a trail, he also imbues an appreciation of the history and culture of the area surrounding a trail. We are really excited to have him in the speaker series."

For his part, Sullivan is keenly aware that fires have hit Oregon, including the Sisters area and its trails, particularly hard. "The Milli Fire and a spate of other wildfires - at McKenzie Pass, in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, in the Columbia Gorge, and elsewhere - have closed more than 20 Oregon trails until repairs can be made," he said. "In some cases, repair will take years. Some of the closed trails are extremely popular, including Black Crater, Multnomah Falls, and the Whitewater Trail to Jefferson Park."

As a result, he plans to highlight hiking opportunities that still exist and some new ones that hikers may not be familiar with. "I'm grateful to the Sisters Trails Alliance for inviting me to share this upbeat outlook," he said. "I also want to thank Paulina Springs Books, a store that has brought standing-room-only crowds to my annual Sisters slide shows for years. Together we're inviting everyone to drop by on May 4 to discover new hikes in Oregon."

One of the key lesser-known hikes that Sullivan will feature in his presentation is the Daly Lake Trail, west of the Santiam "Y." Sullivan describes it as "an example of a nice but overlooked trail." The Daly Lake Trail is a short and easy loop around a nice little lake in a scenic, natural - and unburned - forest setting.

Sullivan is certainly no stranger to Sisters Country. "I've been hiking in the Sisters area each summer since the early 1960s, and cross-country skiing in the winters," he said. "When I first wrote '100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades' in 1991, I decided not to make the two most common mistakes of guidebook authors. First, I would hike every trail, and not merely rely on information from others. Second, I would update the book every single year, rehiking the trails on a regular basis. I suspect this is why the book has become the all-time bestselling title in the history of Paulina Springs Books."

Sue Tank is the manager of Paulina Springs Books and is obviously pleased to be co-hosting Sullivan's upcoming visit. "Bill is a very thoughtful speaker and he's extremely knowledgeable about his subject matter, be it his hiking books or any of his works of fiction," she said. "His slideshows are legendary. His warm way with his audience lends itself to making everyone feel they do know him and that he's invited them personally to share his latest hiking adventures. We very much look forward every year to having him come give a talk and slideshow, hear what new tales he has to tell, learning how the state's hiking trails are faring and where we should head next."

Greg Vandehey, an STA board member and member of the Bjarne Holm Speaker Series Committee, said, "As a longtime fan of '100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades,' I am very excited to have Bill Sullivan visit Sisters to talk about our trails. I know it will be an engaging and informative evening for all." Vandehey is hardly alone in his enthusiasm; many of Sullivan's fans are looking forward to this one!

Through sponsorship of these free public presentations, STA is working to promote outdoor public recreation and education in Sisters Country. This next event will be held on Friday, May 4, in the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Station Community Hall in downtown Sisters at 301 S. Elm St. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., and the formal program will begin at 8:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Sullivan's featured books will be available at a 10 percent discounted price, and there will be a drawing for a free book.

The Sisters Trails Alliance is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization dedicated to the planning, construction and maintenance of walking, hiking, cycling and equestrian trails in Sisters Country. The STA believes that trails are an indispensable ingredient for the quality of life and economic vibrancy in Sisters Country. Volunteer help and new members are always welcome.

For further information about STA or performing volunteer work on trails or other outdoor-related projects, contact the organization at 541-719-8822. Additional information can also be found on their website at or follow STA on Facebook at Sisters Trails Alliance.

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