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!
My friends and I rode the trail for the first time a few months ago. It’s so nice to be able to ride where there’s no car traffic, up in the trees where it’s quiet. It’s become our favorite place to ride. The switchbacks at the mid-point are a challenge; I have yet to ride them, either up or down. But what a great place to ride!
I work with someone who owns a restaurant in Vernonia (and who has nothing to do with cycling). He told me that they have seen a significant increase in summer business in the past year that they attribute to the B-V trail. These types of facilities can pay off for small towns.
My friend and I ended up exploring Vernonia after riding the trail this summer. We may have never otherwise seen this great little town, but were delighted to discover and drop some cash at the microbrewery/cafe/Greek restaurant on the main drag – especially when they let us bring our bikes up on the patio.
Ran into an older couple with a folding tandem bike who found themselves doing the same after their ride, too.
I lead rides with Portland Bicycle Tours, of all the tours I do this is my favorite. Vernonia holds a lot of Oregon pioneer history, visit the museum, The Blue House Cafe, thrift shops and be sure to ride around Lake Vernonia. I went to Vernonia’s Salmon Festival a couple weeks ago, you could see salmon spawning and dieing in the river, they came 60 plus miles to get there, nature at work. Awesome!
this was such a great trail to stub stewart. really pleasant and easy and beautiful. love the restroom and bike shop right at the trailhead and the bike lane leading to it. looking forward to making it all the way to vernonia!
Awesome trail. Did parts of it a bunch this summer and finally did the full round trip a few weeks ago. Always had a great time. The 5-6 mile gradual downhill from Stub Stewart to Buxton or Manning is a thrill.
This is an amazing trail. I think its time to start thinking about converting the abandon railway along the Salmonberry River that will take us from Banks all the way to Manzanita on the Oregon Coast. It could be THE Premier Rail Trail in the country.
Another good feature is that the trail links into a whole network of natural surface, off-road, multi-use trails at Stub Steward. There are currently 15 miles of multi-use trail there, and the park is working with North West Trail Alliance to build 5+ miles of mtn bike specific single track. But it’s not contract work, its all volunteer, so come out and help to get it built faster!
I rode the trail for the first time this last August – then continued west all the way to my campsite at Fort Stevens. It is indeed a jewell of a trail – so fun to ride! My hope is for something very similar as a continuation of the Springwater Trail from the town of Boring out to Estacada. That would probably also involve a trestle bridge like the Banks-Vernonia Trail. Someday…
It is awesome! Rode it 3 times this summer. Visited Vernonia for the first time ever and spent some money on food there twice. Hadn’t ridden the B-V since approx. 1997 when so much of it was washed out, we had to ride through gulleys and rocky dirt hills, sometimes carrying our bikes, and had a hair-raising 10-mile or so ride on a highway. There was a railroad trestle that ended in the wide open with nothing to connect to. That was fun to explore. The trail is unrecognizable to me now. Amazing work.