BAKER CITY — The Greater Hells Canyon Council is planning a series of free community engagement workshops to talk with local residents about the Blue Mountains Trail, the first two scheduled in late May in Sumpter and La Grande.

That’s the 566-mile route that runs between John Day and Wallowa Lake State Park. In between the trail, which includes existing trails and roads, along with short sections of cross-country travel, passes through all seven of the federal wilderness areas in Northeast Oregon — Eagle Cap, Hells Canyon, Wenaha-Tucannon, North Fork Umatilla, North Fork John Day, Monument Rock and Strawberry Mountain.

In the summer and fall of 2020, Renee Patrick, an experienced long-distance hiker from Bend, became the first person to complete a solo hike of the Blue Mountains Trail.

In September of that year, three other hikers — Whitney La Ruffa, Naomi Hudetz and Mike Unger — also followed the entire route.

Jared Kennedy, the development director for the Greater Hells Canyon Council and project lead for the Blue Mountains Trail, is scheduling the workshops.

The first is set for Wednesday, May 25, at the Sumpter Community Hall, 275 N. Mill St. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The second workshop will take place Thursday, May 26 at the Cook Memorial Library, 2006 Fourth St. in La Grande, also from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

To register for either workshop, go to https://www.hellscanyon.org/events.

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