Agency heads, representatives of local governments, interested neighbors, and board members of the Salmonberry Trail Foundation met in Buxton Thursday, Feb. 16 for a Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA) meeting, the first of 2023.
About two dozen people gathered in a room at the Hornshuh Creek Fire Station on Highway 26. The group heard first from Oregon Department of Forestry Forest Grove District Forester Mike Cafferata, a well-known face at STIA meetings, who gave an overview of STIA’s formation and the early history of trail planning efforts for several new people in the group and audience.
Lisa Sumption, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director, also added her own recollection of the trail organization’s history, and expanded on the philosophy of how the trail is expected to be built—piece by piece, section by section, like a linear patchwork quilt—from Tillamook to Banks.
Michele Bradley, the Port of Tillamook Bay General Manager, gave a brief explanation of the railbanking process. Essentially, railbanking preserves a railroad right of way for future rail use while allowing things such as a trail to be built.
If there was a compelling reason for a rail line to be rebuilt in the Salmonberry corridor, it could.
“If the rail ever has an opportunity to come back, it can,” said Bradley. “It usually doesn’t,” she added.
“It was really fun to say we can get this started here,” Jerry Willey said of a work party near Manning that worked on trail cleanup Saturday, February 4.
Alison Graves, the STF board chair, gave an update on the group’s insurance policy, partnerships with the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad and the Salmonberry Trail Foundation and other groups. Graves, a well-known figure in cycling advocacy circles, also gave an update on the group’s nascent process to create a trail operating agreement.
Caroline Fitchett, newly hired Salmonberry Trail Foundation executive director, gave an update on the new hires and board members at the Salmonberry Trail Foundation.
Fitchett said their group is meeting with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici soon, meeting with city managers along the trail route in Tillamook County, and with an advisor to director of the National Park Service Chuck Sams on possible grant opportunities. The group already met with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Fitchett also noted that the group is in the planning process for several upcoming community events.
“Part of these are going to be clearing events, where we clear the trail,” Fitchett said, noting that additional work sessions are being planned for the Manning and Buxton areas.
The Salmonberry Trail Foundation will hold their annual meeting, possibly at Public Coast Farms in Buxton with a tour of the trail in May, she said.