Final word on Grizzly Mountain ride – 5/6/2020

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We are sad to report the ride will not happen.  We spent a lotta time trying to pull it off. We had permission from the federal government reaffirmed, we had an interpretation of the governor’s executive order that allows us to have the ride if we maintained social distancing and we had a plan to do that.  We had three vets willing to vet the ride and the head vet was involved in our planning.  We had private landowner blessing and support of a huge ridership who has been patient beyond belief.  We so looked forward to bringing AERC and EDRA people back into the same camp.   In the end AERC BOD refused to even hear our plan let alone sanction our ride.   Some AERC BOD members, namely Naomi Preston and Jessica Cobbley, really advocated for us and were shut down.   The EDRA BOD evidently looked at our data and voted no.  We were not asked to present our plan.

Sorry riders, we really thought we had the risk at a very much acceptable level.  We certainly were willing to accept it. But we lost.

Prepaid entries will be refunded minus any pay pal fees.

Max and Darlene Merlich




Grizzly Mtn Ride update – 5/3/2020

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Many thanks to those of you out there anxiously awaiting word on our ride. We’re anxious too!

It comes down to this. Will either of our sanctioning/endorsing orgs give us the go ahead? We’ve gotten the go ahead from our landowners, from the federal lands we cross, and our ride veterinarians. We have a really good plan ready for execution, as far as maintaining proper social distancing, per our Governor’s guidelines. We just need the support and advocacy of just one of our sanctioning orgs. We listened in on a meeting within AERC tonight and were not encouraged. We had some really good advocates within the organization speaking up for us, but it didn’t help. They don’t want to make a decision until 5/11/2020. That’s just too late for us to get things in order for this ride and they know it. We’re still waiting on the final word from EDRA so fingers crossed there.

We will be making the final decision on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. If it’s a go, we hope that folks have enough time to get their ducks in a row to make it to the ride. If not, we know we fought the good fight. Max, in particular has fought hard for this ride. You should just know that right now.

So, until Wednesday, keep your fingers crossed and think good thoughts.

~Darlene, and Max too.

Grizzly Mtn Ride update, 5/2/2020

fingers crossed

We have read  Oregon Gov. Brown’s new proposed rules for opening up our state.  We had hoped they speak directly to the size of gatherings but they instead say the six foot social distancing must be maintained.   AERC and EDRA both have said insurance will not be issued if we cannot comply or don’t comply with the order.  AERC will decide by committee in a board meeting May 4, so they say.  EDRA is looking into it as well.  Our controlling agency, the Crooked River National Grasslands,  has said the order must be complied with on their lands and the issuing/cancelling permits (we have one) is under discussion.

Bottom line for us is,  we feel we can pull this off and maintain the social distance rule with ALL PARTICIPANTS following procedures and relying on other means of communication of ride issues such as trails, holds and such. However we cannot take this on without having insurance and that is up to the sanctioning/endorsing organizations.   May 5 is our deadline for this.   At this point we have communicated this and are awaiting decisions.  Thank you for your patience.

~Max Merlich, Grizzly Mtn Ride Manager


Grizzly Mtn Ride update, 3/30/2020

Good morning Grizzly riders and fans,

Effective today, March 30, we’ve heard from our USFS contact. He has informed us that the Grasslands will not be allowing any recreational gatherings. They plan to meet again on May 8, 2020 and re-evaulate, as will we.

Prior to this announcement, in anticipation of such a decree, we began to pursue a new ride date that would not adversely affect other PNER recognized events. Our management group agreed on May 16 and 17, 2020. EDRA has accepted our request and is willing to endorse our May 16 events, if the Grasslands are open for business. We are still waiting to hear back from AERC. We’re not expecting difficulties there.

If you have already pre-registered, and you are not able to make the May 16, 17th dates, we will refund your entry minus any PayPal fees.

At this time, we are still accepting pre-registrations. We are still working on every possible way to hold a safe ride for everyone.

A sidenote to this, since we are possibly holding the ride a month later, we have decided to offer a hundred miler to the mix. We haven’t decided if it will be EDRA or AERC. The number of entries will be the determining factor. We will make the announcement at least 2 weeks before the ride.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Max & Darlene Merlich

Grizzly Mtn Ride update – 3/21/2020


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At this point, the ride is still on, but very much in limbo, according to what the governor of Oregon decides is best for our state.

We have been in constant touch with our USFS representative and the property owners of the Grizzly Mtn Ride Camp.

We feel we have a good plan in place for ride camp procedure. Our goal it to have a “no touch” ride.  More details on that later when we get it all figured out. Just know that there will be lots of no nonsense rules that will be followed to the letter.

In the event we have to reschedule, we do have a contingency plan in place, albeit fragile, in case we have to postpone the ride. If that happens, you’ll be the first to get all the details.

In the meantime, please stay safe! Distance yourself from others, wash your hands frequently, limit touching your face (hard to do!).

I found that I had all the ingredients for hand sanitizer at my own house. I mixed up a small batch for us and I carry a small container in my purse and use it every time I get back in my car from having been in a store, etc.  I’m on vacation this week, so spending time at home getting seeing some projects get done around here!

~Darlene & Max


Grizzly Mtn Ride status ~ COVID-19

The ride will go on 4

We’ve been getting some inquiries about the status of the Grizzly Mtn Ride. As of today, 3/12/2020, plans for the ride are proceeding forward. We are not canceling this ride unless we have absolutely no choice.

We have received notification from our US Forest Service representative that our events will be limited to 250 participants. We feel pretty safe in the assumption that we won’t have to worry about that!

We want our ride participants to feel safe in deciding to attend the Grizzly Mtn Ride. Therefore, please take the time to educate yourself on how Covid-19 is transmitted. Please stock your rigs with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. As stated below, if you have any inkling that you have have been exposed or if you are feeling at all ill, please plan to skip the ride. We all want to have fun, but we all want to stay healthy while having fun.

Hope to see ya’all at the ride, happy and healthy, ready to ride some miles at Oregon’s first EDRA/AERC rides of the 2020 season!

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Gearing up for the 2020 Grizzly Mtn Ride!

This view is from one of the high points of the Warner Loop

We have started checking out our loops and have begun talking about where we’d like to send our riders this year! The trails are looking terrific at this point, so fingers crossed they stay that way! Our ride camp is dry and we’re ready for a ride!

We have a few announcements we’d like to get out there.

First off…food! Why? Because feeding our riders one night is important to us!

Our annual dinner to the riders and crews, catered by Landmark Catering, will be Saturday evening this year, rather than Friday evening. This is so we can include as many riders as possible! We offer hamburgers, with veggie/gluten free options! We also will have soda, water and beer, donated, as always! Your tips to the chef and his gang are always welcome! They work hard for us! 

Woody Celena

Next up, online registration! Shawna Bowin, who we’ve found to be about as close to having the spirit, kindness and attention to detail that Anna Sampson had, is our Ride Secretary this year. She is managing the Jotforms for us. Her contact info is on the online registration page for the ride. Shawna is very good at getting back to folks in a timely manner.  The link to our online registration page is below.

Online Registration for the Grizzly Mtn Ride

Please note, there will be a fee of $10 added to all entries processed at the ride. If you wish to enter/pay at the ride, please get in touch with Shawna as soon as possible.

Next on the agenda is GPS tracks for the ride! Both EDRA and PNER offer tracks via Ride with GPS to all of our rides.  We advise all of our riders to load the Ride w/GPS app into their smart phone and downloading the tracks prior to arriving at the ride since cell service is spotty out at our ridecamp. If you need assistance, please contact Darlene Merlich (, and she’ll get you pointed in the right direction for help. If you just wish to have the tracks, contact Darlene and she will help as best possible.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for updates and the latest news regarding the Grizzly Mtn Ride!

A view from out on the Willow Creek Loop


Max getting one of the gates. He’s a good guy that way! 

We’re ready for our riders!

crunch time


The trails are all marked, the camp is set up and we’re ready for our riders! We’ve had a fabulous team out working on the trails this week, Max, Carol Giles, Dennis and Sue Summers and Lois Fox are all pitching in and working hard to help put on a great Grizzly in the Outback Ride this weekend! The trails look so good! No snow, no muck, no fuss, no muss!

Don’t forget that we’ll be feeding everyone on Friday evening before the ride meeting. Landmark Catering’s fabulous food, courtesy of Woody and Celena! Your beverages are courtesy of Sabiq Arabian Ranch and our ride camp is courtesy of Dennis and Linda Tribby, on their Outback Station place.

We have distances from a 10 mile Introductory Trail ride, to a 25, 50, 75 and 50 mile Test Your Mettle Relay!

Get out here and ride!