Photo: Chas Hundley
WASHINGTON COUNTY – The Salmonberry Trail received a large cash influx from the Washington County Visitors Association and Tillamook County totaling $350,000 to complete the master plan for two more trail sections on the 86-mile former rail line.
According to a press release, the two agencies used transient lodging taxes — funds raised from hotel and other short-term lodging taxes usually set aside for tourism-related projects — to provide the funds.
The original trail master plan split the trail into 4 segments, starting in Banks and ending south of Tillamook.
On the west end, the portion from Banks to near Cochran Pond is known as the ‘valley’ segment. Planning for this segment was completed in 2018.
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From there, the trail route dives deep into the Tillamook State Forest, becoming the ‘canyon’ segment, a wild, rugged area with the Salmonberry River creating a steep canyon.
It is here that most of the damage from a storm in 2007 occurred, the damage that spelled doom for the former Pacific Railway & Navigation Co. railroad and gave birth to the Salmonberry Trail concept.
From there, it becomes the ‘river’ segment, following the Nehalem River as it flows toward the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, there is the ‘coast’ section, which dips into several coastal towns and communities, following, at times, the Pacific Ocean and the Tillamook Bay before ending near the Tillamook Air Museum. This portion was planned out in 2017.
The $350,000 in funding is earmarked for planning for the canyon and river sections of the trail.
“We are excited to be a part of this great project,” said Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey. “Trails improve health and wellness, strengthen social and cultural relationships among rural, suburban and urban residents and help residents forge new ties to our past and future.”
According to a press release, “the Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA) is a non-profit destination marketing organization that serves the region’s tourism industry by actively promoting Oregon’s Washington County/Tualatin Valley as a desired tourism destination to business and leisure travelers, sports and event planners, meeting planners and group tour operators. The WCVA is funded by 2.33 percentage of transient lodging tax (TLT) generated and collected in Washington County.”
The Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency was established in 2015 as a framework of government agencies, including the Oregon Department of Forestry, Washington County, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and more. It is the government entity responsible for promoting and leading planning, development and maintenance of the proposed Salmonberry Trail.
The Salmonberry Trail Foundation (STF) is a nonprofit organization recently formed to replace the efforts of the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust, which served as a fiscal nonprofit partner in the early stages of developing and planning the Salmonberry Trail concept. The STF serves as a fundraising, public relations, and supporting nonprofit for STIA.