Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency signs Salmonberry Trail Rail Line Use Agreement with Port of Tillamook Bay
What began ten years ago as a grand vision connecting the Oregon Coast to the Valley, crossed a milestone on April 6th, 2018 when the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA) agreed in a unanimous vote to sign the lease agreement with the Port of Tillamook Bay, moving the project into its next phase for planning and development.
This agreement also included amendments to the previous terms to provide better support for the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad’s (OCSR) operations and contribution to the coastal communities, including a 20-year extension of OCSR’s lease as part of future negotiations.
“This is an important milestone for the project,” said Lisa Sumption, STIA co-chair and Director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “Now we can proceed together to identify some early catalyst projects that can put the vision into action, one tangible stretch at a time.”
The Salmonberry Trail is a proposed 84-mile long multi-use non-motorized trail that travels in the footprint of the former Port of Tillamook Bay railroad connecting the Coast and the Portland area. More information about the Salmonberry Trail including detailed segment maps and planning updates can be found at salmonberrytrail.org.
The success of this project relies on the support of communities and leadership from local governments and agencies like the City of Tillamook, which is now developing The Crosstown Connection - the Salmonberry Trail’s first leg - in downtown Tillamook.
“Trail advocates, Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad supporters, conservationists, foresters, farmers, equestrians, hunters, and people who live and operate businesses adjacent to the railroad right-of-way have all been involved in the process,” said Jack Mulder, STIA member and Port of Tillamook Bay Commissioner. “Together we can build a world-class resource in our community that will provide economic and quality of life benefits for years to come.”
The next phase of trail development continues engineering studies and planning across all segments. The Valley Segment Planning Advisory Committee working now in western Washington County will be considering a catalyst project that will build off the momentum of the lease signing and the City of Tillamook’s Crosstown Connection trail section to launch the project into its capital campaign. The development and planning of every segment is overseen by STIA and incorporates public involvement throughout.
Because parts of the current line are actively used by trains and other portions were seriously damaged by storms, the line is closed to public access. While there is considerable interest in experiencing this historic passage over the Coastal Range, what is out there is not ready--nor is it safe or legal--for public access. Numerous other nearby trail opportunities and events--including Cycle Oregon’s inaugural Gravel Ride planned for October 2018, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, and a hiking trail system in the Tillamook State Forest--provide opportunities to experience Coast Range forests right now.
The Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust, - the non-profit behind The Salmonberry Trail’s fundraising and communication - invites the community to keep up to date with further development via the Newsletter, Facebook, and Instagram.