Connection complete! Banks-Vernonia Trail finally lives up to its name

After 20 years, you can finally ride the full length of the 21-mile Banks-Vernonia Trail completely off the highway through gorgeous scenes like this.
(Photos: Oregon Parks and Recreation)

This is a big weekend for Oregon’s first rail-trail. This morning, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and officials from Washington and Columbia Counties will cut the ribbon on a new section of the Banks-Vernonia Trail that will fill the final gap in the 21-mile trail.

The new, 1.5 mile segment of trail is in Banks near the junction of Banks Rd, Sellers Rd and Main Street. Chris Havel, Associate Director of Oregon Parks and Recreation sent over a few photos of the new path…

At the public ceremony today, Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde and Washington County Commissioner Andy Duyck will join Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 manager Jason Tell and Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission Vice Chair (and Bike Gallery owner) Jay Graves.

The total trailhead and trail project cost $1.4 million and was funded with $819,000 from a Federal Transportation Enhancement grant, a $411,000 federal stimulus grant, $130,000 in State Lottery Funds, and $20,000 from Washington County.

(Update: Washington County also contributed just under $3 million to repave and realign what Commissioner Dick Schouten refers to “what had been the confusing, odd angled, closely spaced series of intersections of Banks Rd., Cedar Canyon Rd., Sellers Road, Hwy. 47 (Main Street and Nehalem Hwy.) and a rail line.”)

In conjunction with the opening, Stub Stewart Memorial State Park is free to users this weekend and there will be lots of activities going on in and around the park. The Northwest Bicycle Safety Council is leading a ride on Saturday. Portland-based non-profit bike-camping group Cycle Wild is leading an overnight campout to check out the new trail. The ride leaves this evening at 5:00 pm from the Hillsboro MAX station.

For more information about the trail and the events this weekend, check this story in The Oregonian.

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