Trail advocate and planner Ric Balfour is spearheading an effort to transform the small town of Vernonia (about 45 miles west of Portland) into a cycling paradise.
The town already boasts the popular Banks-Vernonia Trail, a 20 mile Oregon State Parks trail between the towns of Banks and Vernonia, but Balfour sees much more potential and he’s working hard to create enthusiasm for bikes among the town’s 2,300 residents.
His biggest and most exciting project is the fledgling effort to create a bicycle skills and recreation park on 35 acres of an old mill site near Vernonia Lake.
The skills park effort recently got a big boost with a $10,000 grant from the Cycle Oregon Fund.
To move the effort forward, Balfour has created partnerships with the Vernonia Lions Club and the Vernonia Community Learning Center. The Lions Club hopes to work with Balfour to build a skateboard park alongside the bike skills park.
Balfour is teaching trail building classes, writing a monthly “Vernonia Velo News” newsletter, organizing fund raisers and generating support from the community. He hopes to break ground on June 2nd, which is National Trails Day.
More exciting trail news around Vernonia is the growing effort to establish the Crown Zellerbach (CZ) Trail that would connect Vernonia to Scappoose on an old hauling road.
Hopefully someday we can ride an off-highway path all the way from Portland, out to Vernonia, and back!