The project will take place in six phases over the course of 16 months:
Phase 1: Internal Preparation – November 2016 through January 2017 (complete)
Phase 2: Stakeholder Review and Initial Public Outreach Workshop – End of January 2017 (complete)
Phase 3: Analysis of Workshop Findings and Feedback – February through May 2017 (complete)
Phase 4: Network Function and Design – Mid‐May through Mid‐September 2017
Phase 5: Drafting of Blue Mountain Region Trails Plan – Mid‐September through Mid‐December 2017
Phase 6: Local Entity Review and Adoption – Mid‐December 2017 through February 2018
Following local adoption of the recommendations, the "Blue Mountain Region Trails - Ridges, Towns, and Rivers" plan summary will be released to the public. Project completion is anticipated by March 2018.
Providing this seamless network of non-motorized trail and transportation connections calls for a multi-layered approach that analyzes and effectively integrates urban area walking and biking commutes, intra- and inter-city recreational travel, as well as regional hiking, cycling, and horseback riding links to the multitude of cultural, historical, and natural resource sites the Blue Mountain Region has to offer. The recommended infrastructure will be designed to best serve the identified need and associated transportation, recreation, and mobility functions.
This planning effort will enable local entities to adopt identified sidewalk, bike route, and trail recommendations into their own comprehensive plan - transportation and recreation elements, thereby unlocking public and private funding opportunities, including federal and state grants such as Washington Recreation & Conservation Office (RCO) or Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (OPRD) grants. In order to facilitate the implementation of the regionally coordinated facilities, the resulting plan document will comply with RCO and OPRD planning requirements to immediately establish grant eligibility.
Inspired by citizen input and Community Council's 2015 study on "Enhancing Outdoor Recreation Opportunities", area jurisdictions and public health officials recognize that a regionwide non-motorized trails and transportation network will provide low-cost, safe, and active transportation and recreation options that offer health, stewardship, quality of life, economic development, mobility, and livability benefits to all Blue Mountain Region communities - for enjoyment by residents and visitors alike.