Thursday, June 21, 2012

Route Canal: making a new cycling connection

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

When I recently blogged about the cyclocross nationals, a reader posted a response adding something to the affect that why haven’t people considered using the roads alongside the various canals as possible bike passageways. That idea drew other positive responses including one from Bend City Councilor Jody Barram praising the idea and also questioning why nobody had done anything about it.
Well people have been doing something about it  for the past two years.
It all began when Senator Ron Wyden asked his local aide David Blair to put together a group called the Central Oregon Recreation Assets Committee. The committee was tasked to come up with ideas that would enhance outdoor recreation in Central Oregon which in turn would help the region’s economy.
One of the committee’s top five ideas was the inclusion of canal roadways to enhance cycling in general as well as create exciting new bike routes. The potential route discussed was a combination of canal roads and sections of rural roads to link Redmond with Smith Rock State Park.
There are a myriad of legal issues involved in making those roadways accessible to the public and members of the recreational assets committee familiar with those legal issues are confident that with some help from the Senator, they can be overcome.
So, with all due respect to the person who came up with the “new” use-the-canal-roadways idea, it’s not new. To Councilor Barram, I say check with County Commissioner Baney who is fully aware of the bike route via canal roads idea and is a member the recreational assets committee.
Serving on that committee along with Baney are Dennis Oliphant of Sun Country Tours, Jade Mayer of Brooks Resources, Brad Chalfant of the Deschutes Land Trust, Bend Metro Parks board member Ruth Williamson, Senator Wyden’s aide David Blair, former school administrator Peter Miller, and OSU-Cascades professor Kreg Lindberg among others. Sally Russell chairs the committee.
Among the other recreational opportunities cited by the committee include a new Sunriver to Bend bicycle route involving portions of currently unpaved U.S. Forest roads, a new cross-country ski trail linking Mt. Bachelor to the Virginia Meissner SnoPark, and the widening of Skyliner’s Road to make if safer for cyclists, roller skiers and runners.

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