Barbara Walker might not be a household name, but anybody who has biked or walked on regional trails or strolled through downtown Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park has benefited from her work as a trails and parks advocate.
Sixth Annual Barbara Walker Regional Trails Fair
Learn more about regional trails and recreation opportunities from noon to 3 p.m. June 22 at Metro Regional Center.
In the coming weeks, one of Walker’s visionary projects – a 140-mile loop of trails around Portland – will move a step forward. Metro in collaboration with Gresham and Troutdale will launch a planning effort to close one of the most significant remaining gaps between Troutdale and the popular Springwater Corridor Trail. The goal is to identify a trail alignment that will guide future easement negotiations, land acquisitions and grant applications.
Walker, who died in October 2014, was one of the founding members of the 40-Mile Loop Land Trust, a nonprofit that works to acquire land for the trail. The organization name is a reference to the original 40-Mile Loop that the Olmsted brothers – whose father designed Central Park in New York City – recommended to the city of Portland in 1903 as part of a regional parks plan.
The loop has since expanded beyond Portland to Fairview, Wood Village, Gresham and Troutdale, though it’s still called the 40-Mile Loop. But about eight to 10 gaps still remain, said Bob Akers, board president of the land trust. The loop, he said, “is designed as a way for walkers, hikers, cyclists and equestrians to connect to nature and get around the magnificent place we live.”
The upcoming planning effort will be one step toward realizing Walker’s vision for the loop trail. In honor of her decades of work and passion for nature in the greater Portland community, the annual regional trails fair has been renamed in her honor starting this year.
Learn more about the Troutdale to Gresham trail project
Attend a June 29 project open house