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Travel Oregon mulls need for statewide trails advocacy organization

Travel Oregon mulls need for statewide trails advocacy organization

Portland to Stub Stewart family camping trip-30.jpg

The Banks-Vernonia trail is one of Oregon’s riding gems. Would we have more trails like it with a new advocacy approach?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Community advocates and government agency staffers throughout Oregon are working hard to develop world-class trails. But is that work failing to reach its potential without a statewide trails advocacy organization?

Stephanie Noll is researching an important question for bike tourism in Oregon.

Stephanie Noll is researching an important question for bike tourism in Oregon.

Trail projects — many of them spurred by a demand for bicycle use — are being dreamed up, funded, and built all over Oregon right now. There’s tremendous momentum for all forms of cycling — from singletrack dirt trail riding that’s become popular at Sandy Ridge to rail-to-trail riding on paved paths like the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. Trails are the backbone of Oregon’s bike tourism engine that pumps $400 million a year into the state economy.

Despite all the projects and people that make up Oregon’s outdoor trail ecosystem, there’s no statewide group that can present a united front for lobbying, promotion, fundraising, and so on.

This problem has been identified by Travel Oregon and they’ve hired a consultant to look into it. At a meeting of their Bicycle Tourism Partnership meeting in Bend today, Stephanie Noll (former deputy director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, now a private consultant) shared insights from her ongoing research into the topic.

Noll has conducted 20 interviews with trails experts throughout Oregon where she posed the following question:

What hurdles does Oregon face in building and maintaining a world class network of trails, and how could we work together to address those hurdles?







The number one response was the need for a coordinated effort to get more funding (big surprise!). The other top feedback was a need to convene existing trail groups to learn from each other and creating a cohesive vision for a statewide trail network.

Noll also shared examples from Washington, where a much more evolved approach to trail advocacy exists.

Washington Trails Association website.

Washington Trails Association website.

The Washington Trails Association was started 50 years ago, has 33 full-time staffers and 13,000 members (whose donations provide most of the funding). On the biking side of things, Washington’s Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has 25 staffers and chapters all over the state. There’s also the Washington State Trails Coalition that convenes a wide variety of groups including ATV users, boaters, and equestrian advocates. It’s an enviable ecosystem that feeds off the state’s dedicated Recreation & Conservation Office — Washington’s governmental arm that does the heavy-lifting of getting federal grants, among other things.

With this advocacy ecosystem, Washington seems far ahead of Oregon when it comes to trail planning and development. It could also be one explanation for the fact that Washington has 110 officially designated rail-trails and Oregon has only 20.

Oregon has a lot to be proud of when it comes to bike trail advocacy. Travel Oregon has been a stalwart supporter of the trails for over a decade as the founder of the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership (which first met in 2004), creator of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program, funder of the RideOregonRide.com website, and much more. But they’re a government entity beholden to many other (non-bike-related) priorities.

If Oregon wants to become the premiere state for cycling on off-highway trails, it might be time for a new entity to help tie all the existing threads together and weave a more beautiful tapestry of riding opportunities.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Travel Oregon mulls need for statewide trails advocacy organization appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Travel Oregon tourism workshops and better transit coming to the Gorge in 2016

Travel Oregon tourism workshops and better transit coming to the Gorge in 2016

Gorge Roubaix - Sunday-13

More bikes in the Gorge is a very good thing.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re interested in helping the Columbia Gorge keep ascending into the pantheon of world-class cycling destinations, Travel Oregon wants to help you.

The extremely bike-friendly state tourism organization has selected the Columbia Gorge for its “Tourism Studio Program” in 2016. This is “a professional bi-state development program designed to bolster the region’s tourism economy while maintaining its rich environmental and cultural assets.” After the same program was implemented in Clackamas County in 2011, that region witnessed a blossoming of bike-related tourism projects and initiatives.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s continued connection and improvement of the Historic Columbia River Highway has been combining with enthusiasm by people up and down the Gorge who see their area’s huge potential for tourism that has low environmental impact but big economic impact. We’ve been covering all of this as it has come together in recent years, and it looks like we’ll have plenty more to cover in the years to come.


The workshop series will include hands-on skill-building, planning, and product development workshops full of information and networking opportunities. Community leaders, public agencies, industry associations, tourism entrepreneurs, tour operators, lodging property owners, restauranteurs, and anyone with an interest in strengthening the local economy through tourism are invited to participate in the program. Workshops run between January and April of 2016. The participation cost of $10 includes lunch. You can learn more here.

Pre-registration is required. For more information: 509-427-8911 or casey@skamania.org.

In addition to this state-sponsored tourism development, the Gorge is also pegged for better transit. ODOT is hosting a survey about possible improvements to public transit along the corridor. To weigh in or share expertise, check it out. The Gorge is primed to jump on the statewide trend of bike tourism benefitting from transit improvements.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org


The post Travel Oregon tourism workshops and better transit coming to the Gorge in 2016 appeared first on BikePortland.org.

To promote biking on the coast, Travel Oregon looks for alternatives to US 101

To promote biking on the coast, Travel Oregon looks for alternatives to US 101

People's Coast Classic Day Five-1

Riding U.S. 101 in North Bend, where bike and auto
traffic often mix without signs or markings.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation has put a fair amount of effort into promoting a bike route near the state’s beautiful coast.

A map of the route along U.S. Highway 101 is one of just three major biking or walking maps the agency publishes. The route has its own special sign. The state has even created a simple graphic showing how average traffic volumes on 101 very widely by month, to help travelers understand what they’re getting into.

The state’s main bike tourism agency, however, doesn’t mention the route on its website and doesn’t expect anyone to ever nominate it for Oregon’s expanding roster of scenic bikeways.

“We don’t really heavily promote it,” said Nastassja Pace, a destination development specialist for Travel Oregon. “It just maybe isn’t always the best experience, we feel, from the tourism perspective.”

It’s not a deliberate snub, Pace explained when I called Travel Oregon to ask about the possibility of the coast route ever being honored. And it’s certainly not because Travel Oregon is unenthusiastic about helping people enjoy the coast on bikes.

On the contrary, the tourism agency is enthusiastic about finding alternatives to biking on 101: fat-tire biking on the state’s public beach, for example, and the long-term vision for a continuous Oregon Coast Pathway being developed by a Portland-based advocate.

The goal of both, Pace said, would be to help people “be more connected with the beach and not with the cars.”

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Travel Oregon is developing a campaign to promote fat-bike beach riding, seen as an attractive match between the state’s unique sandy public beaches and the increasingly popular off-road bikes. These two photos, which are next to one another in Travel Oregon’s current slideshow explaining the effort, pretty much say it all:

fatbiking beach

roadbiking 101

Which looks like more fun? Hmmmm.

“This could possibly be a cool type of destination for different types of riders,” Pace said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be people who want to ride all the way from border to border.”

The agency is currently gathering information about the coast’s best connected fat-bike routes in hopes of releasing a map that could support the activity.

Meanwhile, Pace is also enthusiastic about a far more ambitious long-term project: an Oregon Coast Pathway concept created by Portlander Dan Kaufman (and first shared by Kaufman as part of our “Big Ideas” contest back in 2010).

“The premise of the Oregon Coast Pathway is that there needs to be a path the entire length of the coast that can be traveled safely with human power by just about anyone regardless of age or ability,” Kaufman writes in his information packet exploring the concept of a continuous route from Astoria the California border.

pathcover

Cover of Dan Kaufman’s Towards an Oregon Coast Pathway concept plan.
PDF here

Kaufman has created a nonprofit organization for the purpose and has been working since last fall to raise $15,000 for initial promotion of the vision (he’s already completed a 19-page concept plan). Pace said Travel Oregon loves the idea — based in part on the results of its surveys of users of the state’s current Scenic Bikeways.

The Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership (an effort hatched and hosted by Travel Oregon) likes the idea so much they’ve made it one of their top five priorities to focus on the next 5-10 years.

“A lot of people said even on the Scenic Bikeways that they didn’t want to be riding with traffic or they didn’t like the traffic,” Pace said. “So we’re definitely looking at more off-road sorts of opportunities for all sorts of riders.”

– Read more about the Oregon Coast Bike Route — including a day-by-day travelouge of Jonathan Maus’s 2013 ride down it — in our archives.

The post To promote biking on the coast, Travel Oregon looks for alternatives to US 101 appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike tourism your thing? Win a scholarship to the National Bike Summit

Bike tourism your thing? Win a scholarship to the National Bike Summit

National Bike Summit - Day three-108

This could be you!
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Once again Travel Oregon is taking their commitment to bicycle tourism to the next level: They plan to award five, $1,000 scholarships to the 2015 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. The catch? You must be working on projects or policies that focus on rural bicycle tourism.

From their rural tourism studios to the RideOregonRide website, Travel Oregon has gone “all-in” on bicycle tourism over the past few years. And they’re no strangers to the National Bike Summit. Top-level staffers from the organization have been attending the event since 2007.

This year’s Summit is March 10-12th. The League of American Bicyclists sayss this year’s theme, “Bikes+” will, “focus on new ideas for exponential growth and build strong partnerships to get us there. We’ll zero in on how the bike movement can add value to other issues and find powerful champions in health, community development and the business sector.”

If you’re an Oregonian working to make rural bicycle tourism better and need financial help to attend the Summit, fill out the online application form. Submissions must be in by 5:00 pm on January 30th.

The post Bike tourism your thing? Win a scholarship to the National Bike Summit appeared first on BikePortland.org.

How Travel Oregon has responded to spate of bicycle collisions

How Travel Oregon has responded to spate of bicycle collisions

“Travel Oregon is deeply saddened by the recent bicycle tragedies on Oregon roads, and they have served to elevate our attention and concern.”

While Oregon’s highways are under the official jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, they’ve also become a key asset in our state’s burgeoning bicycle-based tourism economy — and that means the Oregon Tourism Commission/Travel Oregon also has in interest in how they’re managed.

For years now, exploring Oregon’s rural roads by bike has been a cornerstone of Travel Oregon’s marketing strategy. They’ve invested in advertisements, created an online guide to the best routes, and they’ve partnered with the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department to help promote and develop a network of official State Scenic Bikeways program.

So when people starting being hit from behind while bicycling on Oregon highways back in August, it raised eyebrows and concerns among Travel Oregon staff. In the past two months there have been seven high-profile bicycle collisions and four deaths — all of them a result of unsafe driving.

passing

Is it time for Oregon to revamp its highway laws
to protect people on bikes?
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland

We’re happy to report that Travel Oregon has not shirked away from this issue. In the past few weeks they’ve addressed it head-on. Last month we heard from Travel Oregon’s Manager of Global Communications Linea Gagliano and she shared this statement:

Travel Oregon is deeply saddened by the recent bicycle tragedies on Oregon roads, and they have served to elevate our attention and concern. While we work to promote responsible bicycle tourism throughout the state, we are acutely aware that there is an element of risk involved whenever someone takes to the road.

To increase bicycle and car safety awareness, Travel Oregon is adding safety tips for each of the bicycle routes on RideOregonRide.com. Additionally, we will increase our work with other state agencies and partners to address the issue of bicycle and automobile safety throughout the state. In the coming weeks, key Travel Oregon staff members will meet with ODOT to discuss its statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Master plan and long-range policy. On Oct. 31, Travel Oregon will host the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership meeting in Bend, with bicycle and car safety as a prominent item on the agenda. We will use the time to help surface ideas to build a vision/plan that can address bicycle and car safety concerns in the state.

Since that statement was issued late last month, Travel Oregon has made good on their promises. As you might have noticed yesterday while browsing the new gravel riding section on RideOregonRide.com, every ride listed on that site now includes the following message:

Stay Safe

In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.

We also heard from Travel Oregon staff who work directly on bicycle tourism development. With an upcoming meeting of the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership (OBTP), Destination Development Specialist Nastassja Pace reacted to the news of rear-end collisions by shuffling the agenda. On October 31st, when members of the OBTP meet in Bend, there will be a robust discussion of bike safety laws and policies. I’ll be there to share my ideas on rural road advocacy and the potential for legal and/or policy changes at the state level, and lawyer Ray Thomas will share his expertise on existing Oregon traffic laws.

With safety and traffic law policies largely absent from the bicycle tourism discussion, we’re glad to see Travel Oregon face the issues. Stay tuned for more coverage, and if you have specific ideas about how Oregon statutes and ODOT policies could make rural road riding safer and more pleasant, please let us know.

The post How Travel Oregon has responded to spate of bicycle collisions appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Travel Oregon adds gravel routes to bicycling portal website

Travel Oregon adds gravel routes to bicycling portal website

rideoregon

Now you have one less excuse to not explore Oregon’s excellent unpaved roads.

RideOregonRide.com, the awesome resource developed by Oregon’s tourism commission Travel Oregon, now includes a handful of the best gravel rides our state has to offer.

Treo Bike Ranch Day 4 - Hardman to Condon-8

(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Nastassja Pace, a destination development specialist with Travel Oregon, shared the great news with us this morning. She explained that they’ve partnered with two locally-grown resources, OregonBikePacking.com and Ride With GPS, to vet the routes and display them on the site.

OregonBikePacking.com was founded by Donnie Kolb, the man who has stoked much of Oregon’s current fervor for unsanctioned, logging and gravel road riding (we profiled him back in July). Kolb worked with Travel Oregon to feature six of his favorite routes, all of which he has personally ridden, studied, and photographed.

The rides are:

The routes vary in distance and toughness. The Old Dalles route — a 47-mile jaunt that begins in Hood River — is rated “moderate,” while the 241-mile Hart-Sheldon Hot Springs route is rated “extreme.” On the website, each route listing contains detailed information including: best times of years to ride it; recommended tire sizes; a detailed elevation chart; nearby lodging and services listings; a convenient link to GPS data via Ride With GPS, and more.

Travel Oregon launched RideOregonRide.com in 2009 in response to advocates’ requests to have an online tool to promote Oregon’s best road and mountain bike routes. The addition of gravel routes is a result of the agency’s new focus on this increasingly popular type of riding, which is a hybrid between mountain biking and traditional road biking on pavement. In November 2013, Travel Oregon convened a gravel road working group to create a database of the best routes and explore various policy and advocacy issues around them.

Check out the new gravel riding section at RideOregonRide and start planning your adventures!

The post Travel Oregon adds gravel routes to bicycling portal website appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission

Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission

kenjilead

Sugahara spoke out during a community forum
on safety issues on Skyline Blvd in 2011.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has appointed Kenji Sugahara to a seat on the Oregon Tourism Commission. The nine-member commission, better known by its business name of Travel Oregon, manages the state’s $9.6 billion tourism industry.

Sugahara, 41, lives in West Salem and became the executive director of the 5,000 member Oregon Bicycle Racing Association in 2008. Sugahara is also a member of the Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee and is a board member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

According to Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson, Sugahara was picked specifically because of his experience with cycling in Oregon (OBRA promotes and sanctions around 400 events annually in every corner of the state). “We are pleased to welcome Kenji to the Oregon Tourism Commission,” Davidson said in an official statement, “the Governor has selected someone who brings not only a cycling perspective to the commission, but experience with rural Oregon, international media and transportation issues.”

Travel Oregon takes cycling seriously in part because a recent study they commissioned showed bicycle-related travel accounts for $400 million in annual economic impacts to the state of Oregon.

Sugahara is the only person on the commission with direct ties to bicycling and one of only two other members that do not represent the hotel industry (not surprising, given that Travel Oregon is funded by a 1% statewide lodging tax).

In his new role, Sugahara will help set Travel Oregon policy and steer their strategic plans. This should come naturally for someone like Sugahara who has the experience and passion to do the job well. In March 2012, he took his message of bikenomic development directly to Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley during lobby day at the National Bike Summit and he has worked hard to connect the disparate worlds of commuting and advocacy with the racing scene.

Learn more about Sugahara in an audio interview we published last year and in this 2011 profile in the Salem Statesman-Journal.

The post Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission

Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission

kenjilead

Sugahara spoke out during a community forum
on safety issues on Skyline Blvd in 2011.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has appointed Kenji Sugahara to a seat on the Oregon Tourism Commission. The nine-member commission, better known by its business name of Travel Oregon, manages the state’s $9.6 billion tourism industry.

Sugahara, 41, lives in West Salem and became the executive director of the 5,000 member Oregon Bicycle Racing Association in 2008. Sugahara is also a member of the Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee and is a board member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

According to Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson, Sugahara was picked specifically because of his experience with cycling in Oregon (OBRA promotes and sanctions around 400 events annually in every corner of the state). “We are pleased to welcome Kenji to the Oregon Tourism Commission,” Davidson said in an official statement, “the Governor has selected someone who brings not only a cycling perspective to the commission, but experience with rural Oregon, international media and transportation issues.”

Travel Oregon takes cycling seriously in part because a recent study they commissioned showed bicycle-related travel accounts for $400 million in annual economic impacts to the state of Oregon.

Sugahara is the only person on the commission with direct ties to bicycling and one of only two other members that do not represent the hotel industry (not surprising, given that Travel Oregon is funded by a 1% statewide lodging tax).

In his new role, Sugahara will help set Travel Oregon policy and steer their strategic plans. This should come naturally for someone like Sugahara who has the experience and passion to do the job well. In March 2012, he took his message of bikenomic development directly to Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley during lobby day at the National Bike Summit and he has worked hard to connect the disparate worlds of commuting and advocacy with the racing scene.

Learn more about Sugahara in an audio interview we published last year and in this 2011 profile in the Salem Statesman-Journal.

The post Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards

Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards

Sandy Ridge loop-5

Tourism grants will help fund everything
from maps to a bike visitor center, to
new off-road cycling trails.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign that bike tourism is taking the state of Oregon by storm, a recent announcement of 11 grant awards from Travel Oregon (officially the Oregon Tourism Commission) worth a total of $120,000 included five bike projects.

From southern Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge, local governments, agencies, and non-profit groups are jumping on board the biking bandwagon and working hard to develop their natural assets into cycling destinations. This latest round of grants were aimed specifically at advancing projects that “improve local economies and communities by enhancing, expanding, and promoting Oregon’s travel and tourism industry.”

We asked Travel Oregon for details on all five bike projects. As you can see below, there are exciting things afoot for cycling all across the state!

Here are brief descriptions of the projects (taken directly from Travel Oregon grant applications):

Estacada Development Association – Estacada Station Cycling Plaza

estacadaplaza

Drawing by Fertile Grounds, LLC.

This cycling plaza will serve as the gateway to the new, 70 mile Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway. The plaza will provide necessary facilities and services to visitors that will enhance their cycling experience and encourage them to return… The plaza will provide an all-weather facility for cyclists to meet, plan, eat, repair bikes and gear up for their ride. With services such as water, bike repair, parking, security, and trail information, the city and cyclists will benefit from the plaza. Surrounding areas are beginning to offer bike-camping tours, making the plaza even more desirable.

Team Dirt – Alsea Falls Flow Trails
Team Dirt will construct a 1-mile black diamond trail at the BLM Alsea Falls Recreation Site. The trail will be located in the Advanced Trail Expansion area, east of Highballer… Over 2.5 million Pacific Northwest residents are within 115 miles of the system. This trail system is situated halfway between the growing communities of Corvallis and Eugene, Oregon. Both of these communities boast significant riding communities but lack the full complement of available riding options. Specifically, there is a regional lack of bike‐optimized and bike‐specific trails to keep the sport moving forward. This trail system has the potential to be 20+ miles of progressive trail including cross‐country, enduro, and downhill trails for beginner to expert.

International Mountain Bike Association – Mountain of the Rogue Trail System (Phase One Flow Trail)
This project will construct 1.5 miles of world-class mountain bike-specific flow trail 1.5 miles from downtown Rogue River… Building a trail system that accommodates hikers and trail runners while being focused around mountain bike specific trails will bring an enormous economic benefit to Rogue River retailers, lodging, restaurants, and other businesses.

There is a profound need for both economic improvement and access to nature-based recreation in Rogue River. Rogue River is a small town that is struggling economically. Despite the natural beauty of the area and the Rogue River itself, there is very little tourism. Restaurants, lodging, retailers, and other businesses are looking for a way to draw tourists to the community. Area residents lack trail access to the amazing beauty of the mountains that surround Rogue River. There are currently no publicly available, non-paved nature-based trails in the area. This project is needed to provide significant economic benefit by creating a destination for cycling tourists, while simultaneously providing much-needed access to nature-based recreation for area cyclists, hikers, and trail runners of all ages.

Discover Klamath Visitor & Convention Bureau – Klamath County Cycling Map
Discover Klamath will develop a large format tear-pad cycle map. The map will highlight mountain bike trails and road bike routes in Klamath County. The map will be available in digital/downloadable formats on the Discover Klamath website. The goal is to raise awareness that Southern Oregon / Klamath County is an area rich with road bike and mountain bike trails.

With cycling becoming a popular activity, Discover Klamath sees the opportunity as a strategic growth area with considerable upside. The map will begin to strengthen our position as an area for visitors to ride.

Travel Lane County – Eugene, Cascades, & Coast Bike Visitor Center
The development of a bike visitor center will be a human powered outreach program that allows our knowledgeable staff to be accessible in more places throughout the region to provide visitors with first-hand local information, tips and personalized trip planning. It will be the first bike visitor center in the country making it a unique and authentic representation of our destination which is home to three scenic bikeways, two IMBA Epic rides and countless miles of trails and roads for cyclists to explore…

Often when travelling, outdoor activities and natural sites are hard to find information about. The bike will connect people to the resources they need, eliminating barriers to engaging with activities. Combine our trained staff with access to technology and the Bike Visitor Center becomes a better trip planning tool than Google.

As per the grant instructions, these projects must be completed between September 2014 and September 2015.

— Browse our archives for more bicycle tourism news and stories.

The post Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards

Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards

Sandy Ridge loop-5

Tourism grants will help fund everything
from maps to a bike visitor center, to
new off-road cycling trails.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign that bike tourism is taking the state of Oregon by storm, a recent announcement of 11 grant awards from Travel Oregon (officially the Oregon Tourism Commission) worth a total of $120,000 included five bike projects.

From southern Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge, local governments, agencies, and non-profit groups are jumping on board the biking bandwagon and working hard to develop their natural assets into cycling destinations. This latest round of grants were aimed specifically at advancing projects that “improve local economies and communities by enhancing, expanding, and promoting Oregon’s travel and tourism industry.”

We asked Travel Oregon for details on all five bike projects. As you can see below, there are exciting things afoot for cycling all across the state!

Here are brief descriptions of the projects (taken directly from Travel Oregon grant applications):

Estacada Development Association – Estacada Station Cycling Plaza

estacadaplaza

Drawing by Fertile Grounds, LLC.

This cycling plaza will serve as the gateway to the new, 70 mile Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway. The plaza will provide necessary facilities and services to visitors that will enhance their cycling experience and encourage them to return… The plaza will provide an all-weather facility for cyclists to meet, plan, eat, repair bikes and gear up for their ride. With services such as water, bike repair, parking, security, and trail information, the city and cyclists will benefit from the plaza. Surrounding areas are beginning to offer bike-camping tours, making the plaza even more desirable.

Team Dirt – Alsea Falls Flow Trails
Team Dirt will construct a 1-mile black diamond trail at the BLM Alsea Falls Recreation Site. The trail will be located in the Advanced Trail Expansion area, east of Highballer… Over 2.5 million Pacific Northwest residents are within 115 miles of the system. This trail system is situated halfway between the growing communities of Corvallis and Eugene, Oregon. Both of these communities boast significant riding communities but lack the full complement of available riding options. Specifically, there is a regional lack of bike‐optimized and bike‐specific trails to keep the sport moving forward. This trail system has the potential to be 20+ miles of progressive trail including cross‐country, enduro, and downhill trails for beginner to expert.

International Mountain Bike Association – Mountain of the Rogue Trail System (Phase One Flow Trail)
This project will construct 1.5 miles of world-class mountain bike-specific flow trail 1.5 miles from downtown Rogue River… Building a trail system that accommodates hikers and trail runners while being focused around mountain bike specific trails will bring an enormous economic benefit to Rogue River retailers, lodging, restaurants, and other businesses.

There is a profound need for both economic improvement and access to nature-based recreation in Rogue River. Rogue River is a small town that is struggling economically. Despite the natural beauty of the area and the Rogue River itself, there is very little tourism. Restaurants, lodging, retailers, and other businesses are looking for a way to draw tourists to the community. Area residents lack trail access to the amazing beauty of the mountains that surround Rogue River. There are currently no publicly available, non-paved nature-based trails in the area. This project is needed to provide significant economic benefit by creating a destination for cycling tourists, while simultaneously providing much-needed access to nature-based recreation for area cyclists, hikers, and trail runners of all ages.

Discover Klamath Visitor & Convention Bureau – Klamath County Cycling Map
Discover Klamath will develop a large format tear-pad cycle map. The map will highlight mountain bike trails and road bike routes in Klamath County. The map will be available in digital/downloadable formats on the Discover Klamath website. The goal is to raise awareness that Southern Oregon / Klamath County is an area rich with road bike and mountain bike trails.

With cycling becoming a popular activity, Discover Klamath sees the opportunity as a strategic growth area with considerable upside. The map will begin to strengthen our position as an area for visitors to ride.

Travel Lane County – Eugene, Cascades, & Coast Bike Visitor Center
The development of a bike visitor center will be a human powered outreach program that allows our knowledgeable staff to be accessible in more places throughout the region to provide visitors with first-hand local information, tips and personalized trip planning. It will be the first bike visitor center in the country making it a unique and authentic representation of our destination which is home to three scenic bikeways, two IMBA Epic rides and countless miles of trails and roads for cyclists to explore…

Often when travelling, outdoor activities and natural sites are hard to find information about. The bike will connect people to the resources they need, eliminating barriers to engaging with activities. Combine our trained staff with access to technology and the Bike Visitor Center becomes a better trip planning tool than Google.

As per the grant instructions, these projects must be completed between September 2014 and September 2015.

— Browse our archives for more bicycle tourism news and stories.

The post Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards appeared first on BikePortland.org.