From the mountains to the sea on a bicycle — that’s the goal of volunteers who came together for the “Big Dig” work party at Klootchy Creek Park on Saturday, April 13.
A steady downpour failed to dampen support from volunteers of the North Coast Trail Alliance, which aims to develop mountain bike trails from the top of Twin Peaks down to the park entrance on U.S. Highway 26.
Nell Stamper, of Astoria, checked volunteers in at base camp.
Stamper has been involved with the project since plans were first conceived 18 months ago.
“It’s raining today and cold and damp and drizzly, and we have a great turnout of people coming from all over the place: Portland, local, and all the way down the coast,” Stamper said.
After its inception in 2015, the North Coast Trail Alliance quickly saw success with Seaside’s approval of the Cartwright Park pump track, all with the labor and support of volunteers.
Since then, they affiliated as a subchapter with the Northwest Trail Alliance and the International Mountain Biking Association.
In late September, the North Coast Trail Alliance began clearing out future riding areas on Lewis & Clark Timberlands north of Klootchy Creek County Park, 6 miles of downhill, single-track trail to start, with a goal of expanding to 40 connected miles over the next few years.
Clatsop County initiated upgrades at the parking lot and access to the trails.
Local forestry giant GreenWood Resources provided access and help “at every stage,” said organizer Steven Blakesley of Arch Cape.
The cyclists’ goal will be to reach the top of Twin Peaks at an elevation of between 1,500 and 1,600 feet, “where you can see the whole coastline up to the north,” Chris Quackenbush, the operations director, said.
Future plans envision a network of trails from Twin Peaks down into Seaside. The trails could empty out near the new school campus in the Southeast Hills.
The hardest paths will be at the top of the mountain, he added, with an intermediate trail in the middle and a beginner trail at the bottom to the parking lot.
Forester David Dougherty, of GreenWood Resources, joined volunteers with shovels, chainsaws and brush cutters.
“We’re working together to make sure we meet a certain set of standards, reducing sedimentation, trying to keep everything in its natural form to last and be sustainable, to have a good collaborative process,” he said.
The Northwest Trail Alliance, based in Portland, provides insurance and acts as the North Coast Trail Alliance’s fiscal agent.
Northwest Trail Alliance president Bob Lessard described the enthusiasm for the new trails.
“People in Portland are incredibly excited about this,” Lessard said. “There’s nowhere else that I know of in Oregon where you can ride and see the ocean.”