Thursday, November 29, 2018

Help guide completion of the Oregon Coast Trail

Wouldn't it be nice to route the OCT past Harts Cove, on the north side of Cascade Head (and cut out a bunch of highway walking in the process)? It can happen!

If you're as passionate about the Oregon Coast Trail as I am (well, that's a pretty high bar: let's say if you're interested in helping guide its future development), clear your calendar and attend one of three public open houses Dec. 10 (Coos Bay), Dec. 11 (Tillamook) or Dec. 13 (Portland) designed to gather public input for the Oregon Coast Trail Action Plan, the most robust effort to date to identify and close gaps in the OCT. DETAILS HERE

If you're hiked the Oregon Coast Trail, you know the trail is already complete(ish). Like, there are still places where the trail requires you to walk where people weren't meant to walk (mainly, the shoulder of US 101). There have been several efforts over the years to close these "gaps," which add up to roughly one-eighth of the total trail distance, by my count. Every now and then a little progress has been made (construction of another trail segment to get folks off the highway).

Then in 2017 the Oregon Legislature got serious and passed House Bill 3149, which directs the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to lead an effort to "develop an action plan to complete the Oregon Coast Trail." That effort is now under way, led by the talented Oregon State Parks Senior Parks and Trails Planner Robin Wilcox.

This series of meetings is the first opportunity for the public to see the status of this project and to provide input. I plan to attend the meeting in Portland Dec. 13. (It's the shortest drive from my home in Eugene. And it's not on my birthday.)

Robin has done her homework. She's been out in the field and she's been gathering input from lots of trail users. And she is developing a fine appreciation for the challenges and the opportunities out there to get this trail whipped into shape. I hope you can make it to one of the meetings. At least consider signing up at the project's home page to receive project updates as this effort evolves.

The new edition of my book Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon is out; makes a great gift to parents! I'll be at the Oregon Historical Society's Holiday Cheer book event this Sunday, Dec. 2 from noon to 4; it's free. Stop by and say hi!

I had some great views and met some interesting characters on my long hike along the highway shoulder from Humbug Mountain to Nesika Beach. But I still would have preferred to not be walking on the highway.