I’ve been involved with the Oregon Trails Coalition, a cooperative body of broad-based, statewide trail interests dedicated to supporting, promoting, and advocating for the preservation, development, and stewardship of trails in Oregon, since the group started about five years ago. This year I joined the steering committee as the incoming chair, and look forward to adding to the great work that has already been done to elevate and steward our long trails!
The big project the group has been working on has been to develop Oregon Signature Trails. Throughout 2022, the Oregon Trails Coalition and the Signature Trails Inventory Steering Committee engaged a broad group of stakeholders across the state in sharing their vision and priorities for existing and potential signature trails in Oregon. The resulting work was compiled into a report where 15 trails were determined to have the existing infrastructure and support or most potential and momentum at this time to provide access to iconic places and scalable, world-class trail experiences with further investment.
The great news??? Several of the trails I’ve been working on or have hiked are on that list, including:
- Oregon Desert Trail (I’ve been developing the ODT since 2015, and hiked it in 2016)
- Blue Mountains Trail (I’m on the BMT committee, and hiked it in 2020)
- Corvallis to Sea Trail (I hiked it in 2021)
- Pacific Crest Trail – Oregon Section (I hiked it as part of my thru-hike in 2006)
And what that also means is that there are more trails for me to hike! 🙂 Of course some of these systems are just in the planning phase and have a long way to go, others are water trails which I definitely want to paddle, and yet others are biking-specific trails…I haven’t gotten into biking as much as hiking, but I can see a future where I do spend more time on two wheels.
I also designed both the printed 44-page report and the interactive story map.
There is a lot of energy and excitement about long-distance trails in Oregon, and I’m excited to be a part of the group that is elevating trail priorities for all!
P.S. Time to come visit. We’re short-timers.
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I would love to see you both, this summer let’s make it happen!