Bike racks coming to Crook County

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Published May 10, 2014 at 12:01AM

New bicycle racks should start to appear around Crook County towns this summer.

The racks are the result of a Ford Family Foundation leadership class, said Sandra Henning, Paulina District ranger for the Ochoco National Forest and a participant in the class. The foundation is a nonprofit, based in Roseburg, focused on improving communities in rural Oregon. The class is made up of community members, from high school students to hospital workers to retirees.

Along with providing a place to lock up bicycles, the racks should help with the beautification of Prineville and Powell Butte, and possibly Post and Paulina, Henning said. Two designs are planned for the artistic racks.

“One is a wagon wheel and one is a hitchin’ post — kind of a Western theme,” Henning said Tuesday.

As with plans to add more mountain bike trail miles, a goal of the bike racks is to help draw cyclists to Crook County.

“Bike tourism is huge,” said Shawn Benson, a Prineville insurance agent and a member of the class.

Each rack probably will cost about $1,000, and the class is fundraising to pay for the project, Henning said, including taking donations at grocery stores around Prineville. So far the class has raised about $5,000.

If the class can reach the $5,000 fundraising goal, it may earn a $5,000 matching grant from the Ford Family Foundation, said Chad Carpenter, who heads up a tutoring nonprofit and is also a member of the class. He said the racks probably would be put in public places, such as parks.

“We are working with the city (of Prineville) and the county to determine where we can install them,” he said.

Initial drawings of the bike racks show the wagon wheel design holding two to seven bikes and the hitchin’ post design holding seven bikes, but Carpenter said both designs could be expanded to fit where they’re placed.

“We are going to have the flexibility to make those as long as we want them,” he said.

Bike racks would be welcome in Prineville, said John Malpass, owner of Back Alley Bikes, a Prineville bike shop.

“There are very few,” he said Tuesday morning after taking a call while waiting in line at the bank. “In fact I have my bike tied to a post outside of the bank here.”

Mayor Betty Roppe also likes the idea of bike racks in Prineville.

“People like to ride their bikes downtown,” she said. “… This will be an asset for us.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com

More Ochoco Mountain Bike Trails Possible

The Ochoco National Forest is proposing more miles of mountain bike trails on and around Lookout Mountain east of Prineville, part of parallel efforts to make Crook County a magnet to cyclists.

Under the plan, the forest would create a 75.2-mile network of trails, using existing trails, converting roads to trails and blazing new trail. About 25 percent of the network would be new trail. Most of that would be along U.S. Forest Service roads 22 and 42. Currently there is a 54.9-mile network at Lookout Mountain of trails and closed or decommissioned roads.

The bigger trail network would be a mountain biking destination, drawing riders to Crook County to spend more time on the trails and stay overnight, said Seth Crawford, a county commissioner.

“Currently, it is an afternoon ride,” he said.

Along with the expansion of the Lookout Mountain Trail network, Crawford said there are efforts in Crook County to put in a bike park with obstacles to ride over next to Ochoco Creek Park, add multipurpose trails open to bikes near Meadow Lakes Golf Course and improve road biking options.

The current Lookout Mountain Trail network probably sees a few thousand mountain bikers a year, said Kent Koeller, a recreation planner. The numbers are a fraction of the amount of riders annually visiting Central Oregon’s premiere destinations — Phil’s Trail near Bend and Peterson Ridge near Sisters.

“What we are lacking (are) the loop opportunities,” Koeller said.

The trails, about an hour’s drive from Bend, offer a change-up from other Central Oregon mountain bike trails. The soils, terrain and forest found in the trail system aren’t like those near Bend and Sisters, said Kate Klein, supervisor of the Ochoco National Forest.

“So it provides some different options for riding,” she said.

The Central Oregon Trail Alliance, a Bend-based mountain bike advocacy group with a Crook County chapter, worked with the national forest in the planning of the proposed trail changes at Lookout Mountain.

The trails will be more accessible earlier in the spring than those west of Bend, because of the terrain and elevation , wrote Darlene Henderson, Crook County chapter representative for COTA.

“In addition, they will be less crowded and offer more solitude,” she wrote. “I expect that this will attract trail users from all over Central Oregon, including Prineville and Crook County, as well as tourist(s) traveling to the area to vacation and recreate.”

The trails would be open to other nonmotorized use, such as hikers and horseback riders, but the emphasis is mountain biking.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com

To comment

The Ochoco National Forest is taking comments on its plans to expand the Lookout Mountain Trail network. Email to comments-pacificnorthwest-ochoco@fs.fed.us, mail to 3160 N.E. Third St., Prineville, OR 97754 or fax to 541-416-6695. Deadline is May 28. For more information go tohttp://j.mp/1q8H0Pg or call 541-416-6500.



Ochoco Trail Proposal

The Ochoco National Forest has released their scoping letter for the trail proposal in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain.

 

Here is the link to the letter and map http://data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb/nepa_project_exp.php?project=44349

 

The Ochoco National Forest is inviting comments on this proposal.  Comments may be submitted via any of the following methods:

·         mailed to Ochoco National Forest, 3160 NE Third Street, Prineville, OR, 97754

·         faxed to 541-416-6695

·         emailed to pacificnorthwest-ochoco@fs.fed.us.

·         hand delivered between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday (except holidays)

·         oral during normal business hours at 541-416-6500

 

Your comments should be received by the Ochoco National Forest on or before May 28, 2014.