Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 27th, 2011 at 9:36 am
Recent work to complete the Banks-Vernonia Trail continues to reap benefits for Washington County. It's been one year since the 26 mile linear path was fully completed and it has quickly become a magnet that's attracting both riders and official recognition.
Back in May, the trail won a top prize at Travel Portland's 2011 Tourism and Hospitality Industry Awards. On Tuesday, Washington County announced that a portion of the trail completed last year has won Transportation Project of the Year honors from the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association.
The portion of the trail honored was a segment that had been missing for years — less than a mile of the trail that officially connected it to the city of Banks. The project also built a trailhead that welcomes visitors with a parking lot and restroom facilities. The $1.4 million project was funded primarily through a federal Transportation Enhancement grant (a source of funding that is currently under assault by lawmakers in DC; additional funding came from a federal stimulus grant, ODOT, Oregon Parks and Rec, and Washington County)
In other Banks-Vernonia News, the trail appeared in the headlines of the Forest Grove News-Times (and its sister paper the Portland Tribune) yesterday. Washington County Commissioner (and outspoken advocate for bicycling) Dick Schouten led a ride from Banks to Stub Stewart State Park and back as a fundraiser for the Tualatin Riverkeepers. Schouten's companions on the ride were the highest bidders at a recent auction.
One of the people who won the auction prize was Erin Peter, who, runs a non-profit, mental health counseling organization. Peters told the Forest Grove News-Times that, "I hadn’t done the trail before, and I couldn’t believe how great it was for cycling... I wish there were more such jewels, and I hope there will be soon."
Schouten's leadership and promotion of bicycling, and the presence of the Banks-Vernonia Trail as a successful example, are a powerful combination. The more attention and success the trail sees, the more momentum there will be to build more of them just like it. Let's go!