Take a look at JCTRA's new toy, the Morrison Trailblazer

13 replies to this topic
  • JoeMcLaughlin

Posted November 10, 2009 - 12:26 PM


Mike Ames posted this up on the JCTRA web site.

If you haven't been to a meeting in a while you might not have heard that JCTRA recently purchased a new addition to our trail building arsenal, it's called a Morrison Trailblazer.

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The Trailblazer was purchase through a government auction from a USFS Ranger district in Mackay, Idaho for $2500. Ed and I endured the long drive to retrieve the unit...12 hours each way!

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The Morrison Trailblazers were designed to build single-track trails. About 60 of them were built primarily to work on the Pacific Crest Trail system. Ours was built in 1982. The track width of the machine is only 30" wide and can be narrowed to 24" if necessary. The unit weighs in at 2300 lbs so we can haul it up the hill with any 1/2 ton pickup.

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The Trailblazders are no longer in production, but the guy that designed and built them is still in business down in Medford, Oregon. The machines are designed to be maintained in the field. The frame of the machine is built from steel and any part can be easily fabricated. There are no proprietary castings or unobtainable assemblies on this machine. All of the parts are commonly available from a hydraulics shop or bearing house. The unit is powered by an Onan 24 HP twin cylinder gas engine which drives a hydraulic pump. The whole machine runs off of hydraulics.

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After we got the machine home I took it down and pressure washed the years of grease and grime off of it, then Ed cam over and we changed all of the fluids and filters on the machine. It also needed a battery. The machine is completely functional as it sits right now, but there's a few things that need to be done to it before we put it to use.

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Due to it's narrow width and substantial weight we will be installing a roll bar before the machine is used on the trails. Some wiring needs to be replaced and many of the old control levers need to be tightened up to enable smooth operation of the machine out on the trails.

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The previous owners swapped out the hydraulic track drive motors for some more powerful but slower drives which work really well, but the mounting flanges they fabricated for them were not designed well. Ed and I found them bent and worn out, so we swapped the stock units back in for the time being. Dennis is working on having a new set of flanges cut so we can run the better drives. We'll also need to buy or build a trailer for the unit. It's substantial weight and small foot print bent my ATV trailer. It also needs heavy duty tie down anchor points to keep the machine from moving around on a trailer.
The Trailblazer will be ready to rock by early spring when the new trail construction is scheduled to begin. The primary purpose of the machine is to construct single-track trails. As the DNR plan allows for building several miles of single-track, the machine will be very useful once we get a few people trained as operators.
If you're interested in checking the machine out it's at my house for now. Feel free to give me a call and come over and see our new toy!

  • boisedave

Posted November 10, 2009 - 12:37 PM


Awesome find. Congrats.


Posted November 10, 2009 - 12:40 PM


That is absolutely awesome.... I immediately thought "Where's the roll cage" when I first saw it but I read on and see that you guys are going to make one:thumbsup:

That thing is cool and JCTRA should be proud to own it:ride:

  • tod701

Posted November 10, 2009 - 12:40 PM


Wow - very cool toy :smirk:

  • trailwhale

Posted November 10, 2009 - 01:48 PM


Pretty cool and a rare gem you guys found out there for a song. Next best thing is mini excavator but they are not as stable as a Morrision.

  • JoeMcLaughlin

Posted November 10, 2009 - 02:05 PM


This will be a handy tool for that new sanctioned singletrack that should be going in soon as part of the development plan;)

  • pard

Posted November 10, 2009 - 04:10 PM


Myself and Littlejeff may be of some help on the roll cage or other fab work. we have some pretty good bending equipment at work.


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  • JoeMcLaughlin

Posted November 10, 2009 - 04:18 PM


Hit up Mike Ames, this is his baby: mike.ames@jctra.org


  • forestgrump

Posted November 11, 2009 - 03:21 PM


Awesome find Joe. I'm sure that will be lots of inquiries to borrow it! I noticed that you had light weight straps holding it down! I don't think that Washington DOT would approve of them, Chains and binders. It helps keep it out of the back of your truck. Happy trail building. Gramps

  • Angliagasser

Posted November 11, 2009 - 03:52 PM


Joe, I have a small single axle tilt bed equipment trailer that is just right for that machine, that you guys are more then welcome to use. I have not used it much in the pasted 5 years or so. I hauled a 3500+ lbs case maxi sneaker (vibratory plow) and a case trencher on it for years. It has a Daxter 3500lbs axle under it. If you are interested I can get some pictures of it, PM me. I have also ran small machines similar to it and yes a roll cage is a must for it.:smirk: If not it will roll a long ways.:ride:

Edited by Angliagasser, November 11, 2009 - 04:25 PM.

  • Terrain Rider 4z

Posted November 11, 2009 - 04:24 PM


Great find and an awesome way to spend club money!!!

  • NW_E-rider

Posted November 12, 2009 - 11:03 AM


Make sure you post on TT when a single-track trail making party is being hosted, I would love to see that machine in action (and support with the manual backhoe/rake where needed).


  • JoeMcLaughlin

Posted November 19, 2009 - 11:57 AM


A little more good stuff to help the trails.

As part of our grant expenditures the club purchased some silt fence for erosion control when we do trail work.

I picked up a pallet (28 rolls) today and it's being stored under cover at Ross' house until we need it.

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  • team claw

Posted November 19, 2009 - 08:01 PM


I ran into one of those things at Devils Gulch above Cashmere a few years back. Crew was taking a day off and left it up there on the trail. Very cool and it did nice work.

Nice find.:excuseme:

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