Prineville goes full bore into bicycling

COTA hopes to have new trail system done by June

By Beau Eastes / The Bulletin / @beastes

Published Jan 7, 2015 at 12:01AM / Updated Jan 7, 2015 at 06:17AM

Crook County COTA chapter


Note: Ad-hoc work crews to finish Lower 66 begin this month

PRINEVILLE — The wheels are moving on multiple bicycling projects in and around Prineville.

The Crook County chapter of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance announced Tuesday night at its January meeting at Good Bike Co. that by this June it hopes to have the area’s newest trail system, Lower 66, completed, as well as a 1.5-acre BMX bike park.

Lower 66, which sits on 66 acres of state land just south of the Ochoco State Scenic Viewpoint off state Highway 126, will boast three miles of multiuse trails within the Prineville city limits once completed.

The two main loops are nearly finished, said Darlene Henderson, head of the Crook County trail alliance chapter, with the connector trail between the north and south loops requiring most of the work. Signage and a trailhead kiosk are also expected to be added.

The Prineville Bike Park, which will be located adjacent to Ochoco Creek Park, is in the initial fundraising stage, according to Henderson, but she expects construction to start and finish within a two- or three-week period this June. COTA, which has raised $10,110, estimates the bike park will cost approximately $102,000.

“All the right pieces have just fallen together in the last two years,” Henderson said about Prineville’s recent plunge into the cycling community. “You’ve got to have a good relationship with land managers. You’ve got to have public officials like (County Commissioner) Seth (Crawford) get behind these things. You’ve got to have people willing to organize and people like Stephen (Henderson, Darlene’s husband) do the trail work. And you have to have a meeting place like Good Bike Co.”

“Projects like this,” Darlene Henderson added, “you’ve got to have all the pieces in play.”

Lower 66 and the Prineville Bike Park could be just the beginning of a wave of bike-related projects in Crook County.

COTA has submitted a multiphase trail proposal with the U.S. Forest Service for a 270-mile trail network within the Ochoco National Forest. Phase 1 would create a 75.2-mile trail network based around the current Lookout Mountain Trail northeast of Prineville.

Crook County bike enthusiasts are also looking at more rides within the city limits, similar to the Lower 66 trails, to enhance the cycling opportunities in the area.

“The Lookout Mountain trails, those will attract tourists,” said Crawford, who is also a Central Oregon Trail Alliance member. “But projects like Lower 66 and the bike park, those are about quality of life for residents of Crook County. We’ve got an amazing quality of life here, but if you don’t get ahead of the curve, you fall behind. This is an opportunity to improve our quality of life.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0305,