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Jordan Woods Trail in the Beaverton area; photo by Bob Wayt

  Loop that will connect our region with Mount Hood to the

 100-mile Salmonberry Trail that links Portland with the coast.

3. Investment We all know that innovative trail plans are only as good

as the resources available to carry them out; otherwise they’re just lines on the map. In the greater Portland region, voters have repeatedly

invested in protecting nature and giving people opportuni- ties to enjoy it. Natural beauty is a big part of what draws people to Portland, or what keeps them here— and they have shown that by passing two regional bond measures to protect land and a levy to help take care of it. Local jurisdic- tions and park providers in the area also have secured fund- ing for parks, trails, and natural areas. The return on investment is huge. Trails have helped

increase jobs in the region, build tourism, and attract new businesses and residents, particularly the younger “creative class.” Local and national biking, hiking, and sportswear companies set up shop here to cater to trail users.

4. Amazing trails and lots of people using them

  waterfront to suburban communities, from forests to neighborhoods. The upshot: a network of trails close to homes, schools, businesses, parks, and nature. Like roads, this “green infrastructure” provides an essential transporta- tion choice.

Linking transit and trails is a key priority here. All buses and light rail cars can accommodate bikes, as can many park- and-ride stations. Cyclists and walkers can easily transfer to and from transit throughout the region.

24 SPRING 2015

Walking and hiking are the most popular recreational activities in the metropolitan area and throughout Oregon— and it shows when we marshal volunteers to count trail users every September. The region’s 32 most popular trails account for an estimated 20.3 million visits per year, making trails the region’s most-used recreation destinations. Most of these world-class trails are a transit ride or short

car trip from symposium headquarters at the Oregon Convention Center. You’ll get to explore during the mobile workshops or venture out on your own.

5. Vision A history of great trails isn’t enough; we’re also looking

toward the future. What might trails look like in 100 years? We’ll ask the hard questions as partners and residents work with Metro to develop a system plan for regional trails. By better understanding the experience people have on trails— and the experience they want— we can push the envelope of innovation. We’ll explore new types of regional trails that connect people with nature or satisfy growing trends, such as the spike in mountain biking interest. We’re also working hard to make sure regional trails accommodate nature and conservation, so they can serve as a thoroughfare for plants and animals, too— not just people. We’ll also craft an action plan for building priority trails. Completing the Fanno Creek Trail, for example, will be a huge asset to the communities along its route. Finishing the Marine Drive Trail will connect Portland International Airport with the Columbia River Gorge. As all of you in the trails world know, the possibilities

are endless. We’re lucky here in the greater Portland region; we have an awful lot of energy and determination, too.

Curious? Contact Mel Huie, Metro trails coordinator and Symposium liaison, at

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