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In This Issue
Get Involved
Highway Gets Major Endorsement
New Life for the Old Road
Bike Pods and Hubs
Time Travel on the Historic Highway
Gorge Ride 2014
The Historic Columbia River Highway News is your source for updates and information regarding efforts to remember, restore and reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail--a world class adventure from Portland to The Dalles. 
Historic Highway Advisory Committee
To Meet in The Dalles
GetInvolved

 

The Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee will meet at the Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles on March 25, 2014 from 10 am to 3 pm. The meeting highlights include:

Bishops Cap

Bishops Cap

  • Historic Highway State Trail - Wyeth to Starvation Creek Visual Resource Assessment and design elements
  • Update on the "Hub" planning in the Gorge
  • 2016 Celebration Discussion

For more information on the Advisory Committee, contact  Kristen Stallman 

To view the meeting agenda and read past meeting minutes please click here

 
Historic Highway Gets Major Endorsement

 

February 21, 2014 was a momentous day for the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail Reconnection Project.  The Oregon Transportation Commission under the leadership of Chair Pat Egan, unanimously approved a resolution of support for completing the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.  This action by Department of Transportation's highest body demonstrates their commitment to this important effort.  The Commission also recognized the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee's long standing efforts to achieve this vision to the Trail's completion.

 

To read the full resolution click here

  New Life for the Old Road--Construction on the Horizon

 

There is a flurry of activity happening behind the scenes on the Historic Highway. With the completion of the State Trail west of Cascade Locks, the next 10 miles of the Historic Highway State Trail between Wyeth and Hood River is beginning to take shape. In Spring 2015, construction will begin to extend the existing trail between Viento State Park and Starvation Creek Trailhead westward for 2 miles to Lindsey Creek. At the same time, the permitting and engineering is underway on the remaining 8 miles of trail that will ultimately connect Cascade Locks and Hood River.

 

The timeline for this work is as follows:

  • By 2016, the 100th Anniversary of the Historic Highway, we will be opening 2 miles of trail and starting construction on another 2.5 miles of trail.
  • By 2017 we will have connected the trail between Cascade Locks (via the Wyeth Bench Road) to Viento State Park.
  • By 2018 the final 4 miles of trail to complete the project will need to be constructed between Mitchell Point and Hood River.
  • Check out the story below "Time Travel . . ." about what the trail experience will be like in 2018.

   

  

Simulation of the proposed viaduct adjacent to I-84. It will connect abandoned sections of the Historic Highway. The 40 foot elevation difference between the two sites requires a new viaduct. Its design is inspired by the bridges along the Historic Highway.

 

Help Plan Oregon State Parks

in the Columbia River Gorge

 

The third set of public meetings in the Gorge state park planning process are scheduled for April 30 and May 1, 2014.  Come and share your thoughts.

 

Park staff will present planning concepts for state parks in the Gorge and listen to public comment at these meetings. Planning concepts will include strategies for park management in the Gorge and specific strategies and site plans for our most significant park properties.   

 

Planning proposals will be available online at www.gorgeparksplan.com for review on April 23. You can also to review and comment on past public meeting materials including existing conditions and guiding values.

 

The meetings are scheduled as follows:

West End Public Meeting III

Wednesday, April 30, from 5:30-7:30pm

Corbett Fire House

36930 E. Historic Columbia River Highway

Corbett, Or 97019

 

East End Public Meeting III.

Thursday, May 1, from 5:30-7:30pm

Hood River Fire Station

1785 Meyer Pkwy,

Hood River, OR 97031

 Bike Pods and Hubs in the Gorge

 

Bicycle tourism is growing in Oregon. Recreational bicycle travel accounts for $400 million of Oregon's annual $9 billion tourism industry, according to the Oregon Bicycle Travel Survey, released Travel Oregon earlier this year.

 

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is applying for funding for a statewide roll out of 11 Bike Pods and 3 Bike Hubs. These will be located in State Parks throughout the state to serve long distance bicyclists touring Oregon's amazing landscapes.

 

What is it? A Bike Pod provides needed amenities for long distance cyclists including bike parking, a water fountain, a cell phone charging station, maps and wayfinding information, covered shelter and seating in the State Parks with established hiker-biker camps.  If successful, the project will also fund the construction of a Gorge Hub in Mosier along the Historic Highway.

 

The Hubs, similar to Bike Pods, are located on publicly owned land in urban areas along destination cycling routes. The Hubs have similar amenities to the Bike Pods but also provide an opportunity for communities to capitalize on the economic benefits of bicycle tourism.

 

 Proposed Bike Hub Concept from the

Historic Highway Wayfinding Plan

 

 

 Time Travel Along the Historic Highway

State Trail

 

Through our work in the Gorge, we realize that while many folks are excited about the prospect of the new trail, it is not clear where the new trail goes. So we thought one way to explain it is to paint a picture using words. Here it goes...

 

Imagine it is 2018 and you are planning your bike trip between Cascade Locks and Hood River on the Historic Columbia River Highway. After loading up on carbs in Cascade Locks you hit the road. You ride from the Cascade Locks Marine Park east along Forest Lane. You impress your friends by sharing with them that this seemingly quaint neighborhood street is actually the Old Highway. You pass the Easy Climb Mountain Bike Park en route to Herman Creek Road, aka Wyeth Bench Road, just east of the Herman Creek Campground.

 

Left: A view to Wyeth Camground, once the site of a civilian conservation camp and today a charming Forest Service campground.

  
You cross over I-84 and travel onto Wyeth Bench Road and begin to climb. You notice that you are breathing harder as you crank down on the pedals. Along this quiet county road you climb up then glide down 300 ft. of elevation. Tired but invigorated, you arrive at Wyeth, a real Oregon ghost town, where you stop for a break at the new Gorton Creek Trailhead; Oregon's newest state park facility and the start of the Historic Highway State Trail. After a quick pit stop, you are intrigued by some of the interpretive signs that tell the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp that once stood where the campground is today. You fill your water bottle and hit the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail making a mental note that on your next trip to the Gorge you will plan to camp at Wyeth Campground; a delightful campground that is set back from the noise of the railroad and interstate - a rare find in the Gorge.

  

A view up Shellrock Mountain from the trail.

Now you are back on the State Trail headed east. You are happy as you realize cyclists are no longer forced to the shoulder of I-84, especially as you approach the formidable Shellrock Mountain. From the trail you can look down on the speeding traffic but instead your eyes are drawn to the panoramic and unobstructed views of the Columbia River Gorge. Looking to your right you can still see remnants of old rock walls that were built by Simon Benson's honor men - a fancy name for an inmate work crew. Simon Benson, an influential Portlander and owner of the Benson Hotel, wanted to demonstrate to the world that a road could be built around Shellrock Mountain and that the Columbia River Highway was not a crazy idea.

  

After crossing Shellrock, some of the original Highway pavement is visible and you get a glimpse of the 1870s Wagon Road and its hand-laid stone walls that sit well above the trail. After passing over Summit Creek, the trail starts to climb up away from I-84. You lean forward and start cranking up the hill. Now, on a ramp known as the Summit Creek Viaduct, you are impressed by the look of the structure. The arched concrete railings and stone detailing feels like it belongs there. At the top of the viaduct you take a break and look back over your shoulder towards Wind Mountain in Washington.

  

Left:  Today moss covers the old highway at Lindsey Creek State Scenic Corridor. In the future this old road bed will make a fantastic trail segment.

 

  

 Once you catch your breath you start again and immediately feel as if you have been transported back in time. Traveling on an amazing old highway segment, you can feel Sam Lancaster's inspiration in the way the sun streams through the trees and dapples the pavement that is fringed with moss. You find a spot to park your bike and hike out to a little overlook where you can sit and take in the beauty of the Gorge.

 

Back on the saddle, you emerge from the woods and are immediately treated to panoramic views towards Dog Mountain. Now the trail is cut into a cliff with rock walls lining the trail as it descends down towards Lindsey Creek. At the base of the hill, you notice a side trail with a sign directing you to Lindsey Creek Falls. You lock up your bike and scramble up the trail where you are treated to yet another sweet view of a Gorge waterfall. 

 

The view east towards Wind Mountain from the Lindsey Creek Bench Cut.

 

Back on your bike you are now on a flat trail next to I-84. While not as scenic, you appreciate being separated from the traffic by the concrete barrier. After mile or so, the trail moves away from I-84 and brings you into a forested area. The trail crosses Warren Creek on a new bridge that has architectural details inspired by the bridges along the Historic Highway.

 

Hole-In-The-Wall Falls will become a new favorite destination in the Gorge in the future.
You make a stop at Hole-in-the-Walls Falls because the name intrigues you and you read an interpretive sign that explains how this waterfall got its name. You look up and see the water spouting from a hole in the cliff and now the name makes sense.

 

It is getting late so you jump on you bike and ride along the trail to Starvation Creek Trailhead. However, along the way you stop for a quick photo of Cabin Creek Falls. You shake your head in wonder - how have you never known about this waterfall and you decide then and there that this might be your favorite waterfall in the Gorge. Yet at Starvation Creek, you have an argument with yourself, could Starvation Creek Falls now be your most favorite waterfall?

 

You ride on through to Viento State Park where you pitch your tent for the night. Having traveled 12 miles from Cascade Locks, you realize you only have another 5 miles to go before reaching Hood River in the morning.   You lament that your journey tomorrow as it will be along I-84 and not on the separated State Trail. As you fall asleep you dream about Mitchell Point Tunnel...is this a dream or a reality?

 

 

A new tunnel through Mitchell Point is required for complete trail connection through the Gorge. ODOT has secured funding for the engineering and permitting for the tunnel. Construction funding has not yet been identified but engineering will begin soon.

  
Gorge Ride Logo Gorge Ride--June 14, 2014
 

Do you love cycling in the Gorge? Do you love the Historic Highway? Why not ride the Historic Highway as part of this year's 8th Annual Gorge Ride. This is a fully supported, non-competitive ride along the Historic Columbia River Highway and the Historic Highway State Trail. The ride kicks off at The Gorge Discovery Center and heads west towards Hood River then back for a distance of 38.5 miles. This is the primary fund raiser for the Friends of the Historic Highway. To register go to www.gorgeride.com

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Contact  
Kristen Stallman, Historic Columbia River Highway Coordinator
Oregon Department of Transportation, Region 1