After 10 years operating mostly in the shadows, the Salmonberry Trail is ready to move into the spotlight. [Read more…]
This story is from Chas Hundley, editor of the Gales Creek Journal. It was first published by Salmonberry Magazine.
A long-planned evolution in the development of the Salmonberry Trail took its first steps recently with the announcement by the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust that the Salmonberry Trail Foundation would be formed.
The foundation will take over assisting with Salmonberry Trail development from the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust (TFHT), a nonprofit established in 1999 to push for the development of the Tillamook Forest Center located along the Wilson River Highway in the Tillamook State Forest.[Read more…]
This October, one of America’s best supported bike rides will do something they’ve never done in their 30-year history: Take the show off-road.
A few weekends ago I rode about 50 miles east of Portland to get a closer look at one of the routes that will be featured as part of Cycle Oregon’s ‘Gravel’ event coming October 5-7th. The two days of riding (or three if you choose to ride out there) will be based at Reeher’s Camp, a site built on a historic Civilian Conservation Corps camp a few miles west of Timber (population 130) at the eastern edge of the Tillamook State Forest.
“If you had told me at that time that those tracks would one day be a bike path with 250,000 riders annually, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
The Salmonberry Trail is a project that will make use of a derelict rail line from the current end of the Banks-Vernonia Trail all the way to the Oregon coast. The trail has been in the planning stages for a long time, but if Virginia’s experience with the state’s 34-mile Creeper Trail is any indication, Oregon would do well to complete the Salmonberry sooner rather than later.
Back in the 1980s, the Virginia Creeper was itself an abandoned rail line that the US Forest Service decided to make into a recreation trail. Given the very rural nature of the area, this idea was met with some skepticism, but the trail has become wildly successful beyond anyone’s expectations. The trail holds special significance to me, as I once lived in Abingdon just a few blocks from the abandoned rail line. As neighborhood kids, we’d go over to the tracks and walk over the high trestles as a foolish/daring/scary thing to do. The only thing I ever saw on the tracks was a Drasine – a motorized vehicle about the size of an automobile.
If you had told me at that time that those tracks would one day be a bike path with 250,000 riders annually, I wouldn’t have believed it. That figure is over 25 times the combined populations of the two towns along the trail – Abingdon and Damascus. Trail-related tourism is estimated at $25 million per year, and each overnight visitor spends about $700 in the area.
to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.
(Map by Oregon State Parks & Rec)
The proposed Salmonberry Trail, a path that would connect Washington County to the Pacific coast through the forest along a defunct rail line, has an official name and is about to get a full-time executive director.
Previously referred to as the “Salmonberry Corridor,” the trail also has an 11-member decision-making body with formal power to start raising the unknown millions that’d be required for the 86-mile proposal.
The Salmonberry Coalition will celebrate those milestones at its annual meeting next month. The public event is 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Oct. 9, at Stub Stewart State Park.
The Salmonberry Corridor project is moving ahead with as much steam as the Southern Pacific railroad cars that used to rumble through it in the early 1900s.
The project aims to re-open the derelict, 86-mile rail corridor to recreational use. When complete, it will connect the existing Banks-Vernonia rail-trail with the city of Tillamook on the Oregon Coast via a combination of paved and natural surface paths. Amazing huh?
You might recall our story back in June that teased a few of the potential design concepts being drawn up by project consultants. Now, as of last week, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has released the Salmonberry Corridor Draft Concept Plan (PDF, 44MB). [Read more…]