A large crowd, including dozens of mountain bike riders, gathered Saturday, July 22, to celebrate the grand opening of what organizers hope will become the destination trail cycling spot on the North Coast.
The Klootchy Creek Trails network, located off U.S. Highway 26, two miles east of the U.S. Highway 101 junction, is a collaborative project of the North Coast Trail Alliance, land manager GreenWood Resources and the Clatsop County Parks Department.
County Commissioners Kathleen Sullivan and Pamela Wev were joined by representatives from GreenWood, the trail alliance and others involved in the project, before a chainsaw “ribbon-cutting” officially opened the trails to the waiting riders.
Volunteer trail-builders were thanked for their work, which totaled more than 5,000 hours over eight months.
Currently about four miles of trails are open to riders, but organizers have developed a long-range master plan that envisions a broad network of nonmotorized riding trails on GreenWood’s Lewis and Clark Tree Farms property.
Trail Alliance President Steven Blakesley said the group — a chapter of the Northwest Trail Alliance cycling organization — had been trying unsuccessfully to find suitable trail sites on public lands before a partnership with the private timberland company was forged.
Klootchy Creek County Park is the trailhead for the riding network. County Natural Resource Manager Steve Meshke said he looks forward to seeing increased visitation to the small park on the bank of the Necanicum River, which has seen visitor numbers dwindle since the area’s landmark Sitka spruce heritage tree was felled in a 2007 windstorm. Parking space at the park was expanded in anticipation of the new trails, and further improvements, including restrooms, are planned, he said.
Use of the trails is free, but is subject to fire closures and other restrictions. Riders must also obtain a free recreational permit from GreenWood Resources.