Interested in volunteering at the International Trails Symposium May 17 to 20? For every four hours volunteered, volunteers will be able to attend a symposium educational session for free. (Workshops at the Regional Trails Fair on May 17 are free.) To sign up, contact Kevin Le at The Intertwine at [email protected].
As the sunny days beckon, it's time to hit the trails.
Thousands of local walkers, joggers, bicyclists and hikers already enjoy the region’s extensive network of trails. It’s a reputation that extends globally and, come May, international trails planners and experts will converge at the Oregon Convention Center for the 2015 International Trails Symposium.
But you don’t have to be a trails expert to enjoy the symposium. The public is invited to a free, family friendly Regional Trails Fair from noon to 5 p.m. May 17. The public will be able to visit the booths of 30 local and a dozen international trails groups, attend workshops and watch a demonstration of trail construction. Enjoy a rock wall, mini disc golf course, play equipment, mountain bike pump track, prizes and more.
“Walking and hiking are the most popular recreational activities in the state and in the metro region,” said Mel Huie, a regional trails planner at Metro since 1988. “It’s a way to connect with nature. It brings people together.”
Huie attributes the region’s impressive trails to community activism and government foresight. The state produced an Oregon Bike Plan and Map in 1897, and residents advocated for more trails.
In 1903, Portland enlisted the Olmsted brothers – whose father designed Central Park in New York City – to design a regional parks and greenways system. They proposed a 40-Mile Loop to link the system. Today, the loop stretches to 140 miles.
There’s still a long way to go. The regional trails system that modern-day planners outlined in 1992 calls for 1,000 miles, and 350 miles have been built.
That’s not stopping people from enjoying the trails that already exist, including these popular ones:
1. Waterfront Park and Eastbank Esplanade: The region’s two most popular trails offer stunning views of the Portland skyline and Mount Hood as visitors make a loop along the Willamette River.
2. Springwater Corridor: Enjoy a scenic, 26-mile trip from Southeast Portland to Boring through wildlife refuges, gardens, and residential and industrial neighborhoods.
3. Waterfront Renaissance Trail: For a premier trail along the Columbia River, head to Vancouver and enjoy five miles of paved trails with views of the Interstate 5 and 205 bridges and Mount Hood.
4. Tualatin River Greenway Trail: In the west and southwest suburbs, six miles of the Tualatin River Greenway run through portions of West Linn, Rivergrove, Durham, Tigard, Tualatin and Hillsboro.
5. Ice Age Tonquin Trail: See the dramatic geologic landscape left by the historic Missoula Floods as you travel along portions of the trail in Wilsonville, Sherwood and Tualatin. When completed, the multi-use trail will be 21 miles.