At their meeting in John Day this morning the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Commission voted unanimously to to designate three new State Scenic Bikeway routes. That brings the total to four and the new routes join the existing Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.
The three new routes are the Blue Mountain Century, the Old West Bikeway and the Three Sisters Bikeway. Each route comes with a marketing plan and the full support from city officials who see them as a way to attract bicycle tourists and spur economic growth.
Scenic Bikeway routes are nominated by local communities and are then put through a rigorous application process with oversight by an independent committee. Approved and adopted routes use existing roads and paths and, while they don’t come with bike-specific infrastructure improvements, they receive turn-by-turn signs.
The designation of these new routes is a major milestone for the Scenic Bikeways Program (which also happens to be the only program of its kind in the country). The idea was first championed by the Cycle Oregon board back in 2004 and has since become an official state program. There are several more Scenic Bikeways in the works.
For more information, read an excellent write-up published today by The Oregonian’s travel columnist Terry Richard and peruse OregonScenicBikeways.org. You can also learn more about the program in the BikePortland archives.