Someday, the Ice Age Tonquin Trail will take you from the banks of the Willamette River in Wilsonville, through Graham Oaks Nature Park and the Villebois neighborhood, past kolk ponds and large boulders left by historic floods – onward to Old Town Sherwood, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and Tualatin's Ki-a-Kuts bridge and Cook Park.
This adventure will unfold mile by mile, fueled by a master plan meant to jumpstart construction throughout the southwest part of the region. The 22-mile trail will connect Sherwood, Tualatin and Wilsonville, giving people new ways to get to work, shopping and schools. The trail will also pass some of the region's most spectacular scenery and parks, inspiring people to get outside and enjoy nature.
More trail is on the way
With five miles of the trail complete, that leaves 17 miles to go. The rest of the trail will be built as funding is identified – beginning with the Cedar Creek Greenway section, which traces its namesake creek through Sherwood.
Metro is securing remaining sections of the trail with funds from a voter-approved natural areas bond measure. Working with willing sellers, Metro pays market value to buy land or the right to build a trail on it.
Future trail features ancient history
Visitors will quickly discover why "Ice Age" is part of the trail's name, as they explore a landscape shaped by historic floods.
Some 15,000 years ago, a huge ice dam repeatedly broke near the Montana-Canada border, unleashing water, icebergs, glacial ice and debris. Cascading through Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon at the speed of a car driving on the freeway, the floods left their mark. When you travel on the Ice Age Tonquin Trail, you'll find scoured scablands, rich wetlands and kolk ponds.
Trail makes regional connections
As part of the regional trail network, the Ice Age Tonquin Trail will provide connections with the Westside and Fanno Creek trails. There may also be a link to Champoeg State Park, if the proposed French Prairie Bridge is built over the Willamette River in Wilsonville.
Regional trails play a big role in the region’s developing Active Transportation Plan, which will identify strategies, priorities and projects to complete a seamless network that allows people to get around without cars.
Master plan lays groundwork for trail
Metro and partners along the route of the Ice Age Tonquin Trail endorsed a master plan in 2013, creating a blueprint for its route, design, funding, phasing, maintenance and more. The plan was three years in the making, with a steering committee evaluating options and gathering public input. More than 1,000 citizens weighed in by attending open houses, filling out surveys or writing in with their ideas.
With a master plan in place, project partners can begin securing the remaining land needed and more effectively seek funding to make this vision a reality.