State Trail from JB Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek Open
Newest State Trail Section Dedicated on September 14
On Saturday, Sept. 14, over 130 people, many with their bicycles, gathered to dedicate a key piece in the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail and open the way for pedestrians and cyclists to travel from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without using Interstate 84. The dedication was held at the impressive McCord Creek Bridge, the centerpiece of the celebration marking completion of the of the 1.6-mile segment of the trail between John B. Yeon State Park and Moffett Creek.
With the completion of this trail project, for the first time in 77 years, we will be able to ride our bikes from Cascade Locks to Troutdale without ever having to go on to the shoulder of what is now Interstate 84. Now 62 of the original 73 miles of Historic Highway lining Troutdale with The Dalles are open to motor vehicles or to bikes and pedestrians.
The event opened with drummers from the Grand Ronde Tribe and Tribal Council Member Jon George provided a blessing. John explained that this site was within the treaty lands of the Watala - Cascade Indians-Native Americans who are now members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.
This project is a unique partnership. The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department but the project was designed and constructed by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Pat Egan, Chair of the at the Oregon Transportation Commission spoke about the legacy of original Historic Highway’s master road builder and designer Samuel Lancaster. It was 100 years ago this month that he started the surveying the land to figure out how to lay out the Columbia River Highway and how to build the road with an emphasis on “lying lightly on the land”.
Chair Egan thanked the ODOT design and construction teams who created a masterpiece and with their attention to details that make this trail special. Sam Lancaster would be proud of all the great work that went into this project. He specifically recognized Jose Villalpando, the project coordinator. Jose’s extra efforts were evident throughout the 1.6 mile route.
Other speakers included emcee Kevin Price; John Potter and Robin Risley of State Parks; Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel; Hood River County Commissioner Karen Joplin; and the Mayors of Troutdale and Cascade Locks
The event included thank yous and recognition of the contributions of those involved in the project.
• Western Federal Lands Division of the Federal Highway Administration, the Oregon Pedestrian and Bicycle Program, Transportation Enhancement, and the Public Lands Highway Discretionary Fund who provided funding for this project.
• The Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee and their chair Wayne Stewart who was involved in every aspect of the development of this trail.
• The Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway, who for past several years have been drumming up support for this project.
• The crews with Tapani Underground who have been out here for two years working on this project in the rain, snow and extreme heat.
The trail remains closed for general use until Nov. 9. Through September and October, Tapani crews will be paving, finishing walls, landscaping and installing the safety railing along I-84. That is why the celebration was called a trail dedication not trail opening.
The new 1.6-mile trail segment includes:
• A new 12-foot wide paved path accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, walkers, hikers and wheelchairs.
• A distinctive new 81-foot long pedestrian bridge over McCord Creek designed to reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of the original highway design.
• A new picnic and rest area with restored views of Beacon Rock.
Dedication site at McCord Creek
The Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) has been abandoned and segmented by the construction of I-84. In 1987, the Oregon Legislature directed ODOT to develop a plan to preserve, restore and maintain existing portions of the historic highway and to reconnect missing segments with a State Trail allowing recreationists on foot and bicycles to enjoy a reasonable approximation of the original historic highway.
Much work has been accomplished since 1987, and 62 of the original 73 miles of the Historic Highway are now open to travel either by motor vehicle (Historic Highway or connecting county roads) or by foot and bicycle (State Trail). As of 2011, 11 miles of State Trail have been completed, linking a number of isolated segments of the HCRH. An additional twelve miles await reconnection. The Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee and the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway have jointly spearheaded an effort to restore and reconnect the highway and advocate for the completion of the State Trail by 2016, the 100th anniversary of Lancaster's masterpiece.
Once complete Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will provide Oregonians and visitors from around the world access to many of Oregon’s under developed State Parks, open up extraordinary views to undiscovered waterfalls and the majestic Columbia River, and allow visitors to discover first hand the fascinating history of the Gorge and its famed Columbia River Highway.
John B. Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek Segment
This segment is a 1.6 mile missing piece of the trail connecting Troutdale with Cascade Locks. ODOT will construct a multi-use trail from John B. Yeon State Park at Warrendale to the restored Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail at the HCRH Moffett Creek Bridge. This trail/bike path will be a paved 12-foot wide path. It is accessible for hikers, walkers, bicyclists and people using wheelchairs.The trail will require a pedestrian bridge over McCord Creek, parallel I-84 to the south and cross under I-84 at the Moffett Creek structure to connect with the restored State Trail.
The construction of this trail segment began in February 2012 and it will be completed in the fall of 2013.
Trail Segment Highlights
1 Creates access so bicyclists will no longer have to use the shoulder of I-84 between Troutdale and Cascade Locks.
2 Allows for a 34 mile scenic bike ride between Troutdale and Cascade Locks following along 26 miles of the drivable historic highway and 6.5 miles on the State Trail.
3 Incorporates a picnic and rest area with restored views of Beacon Rock.
4 Connects to US Forest Service Trail 400 with an opportunity to hike to Elowah Falls.
5 Takes advantage of the existing trail head at John B. Yeon State Park.
6 Provides access from the west to the historic Moffett Creek Bridge and the HCRH State Trail to Cascade Locks.
7 Provides another ADA accessible section of the trail for hikers.
The HCRH State Trail will be a 1.6 mile long extension between the John B. Yeon State Park Trailhead and the State Trail at the Historic Moffett Creek Bridge. The trail will be accessible to non-motorized transportation including cyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities, complimenting the existing USFS Gorge Trail 400.The trail is designed using much of the existing vegetation and topography, in combination with structures that blend into the natural environment.
The trail will begin at the John B. Yeon State Park Trailhead, on the south side of the Interstate-84. Protected by a concrete barrier, the trail parallels I-84 for approximately 1,700 feet until it reaches McCord Creek. A new 76-foot pedestrian bridge, designed to reflect the craftsmanship and artistry of the Historic Columbia River Highway, will cross McCord Creek approximately 150 feet upstream from I-84. The trail returns to parallel I-84 for approximately 900 feet before diving south into the woods. From here, the trail meanders for approximately 3,000 feet through predominately forested terrain, with some small clearings which provide viewpoints and picnic areas. Several types of retaining walls are utilized to minimize the trail footprint and impacts to the environment. Again, the trail emerges to parallel I-84, this time it rises atop a retaining wall constructed as part of the Moffett Creek Bridge replacement. At Moffett Creek, retaining walls are again employed to provide a switchback and rest area to transition the trail under both the eastbound and westbound I-84 bridges. Finally, the trail connects with the previously restored State Trail at the HCRH Moffett Creek Bridge so recreationists can continue on to Cascade Locks.