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Officials strive to designate scenic bike route

by:  ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Estacada Development Chairman Phil Lingelbach stands before a display of sites one is likely to see along the proposed scenic bike route between Estacada and Detroit, Oregon.Estacada Development Association Chairman Phil Lingelbach updated community members on the proposed 72-mile scenic bike route between Estacada and Detroit, Ore., Wednesday, Sept. 18, at City Hall.

Lingelbach explained that the meeting was part of the formal request process and public comments from the meeting would be submitted with the scenic bike route application.

Lingelbach proceeded to give an overview of his vision for the route.

He said that those who planned to ride the route could utilize the free parking at Estacada City Hall, and the public restroom when it is completed. A plan for a new bike rack is also in the works.

Lingelbach mentioned that he would like to direct cyclists to visit the Estacada Ranger Station to learn about the route, potential road closures and for information on the Mt. Hood National Forest.

He said that the first few miles of the route make for a gentle ride along the Clackamas River.

PGE’s access road near Faraday Lake is level and gated. Families could bring their children to cycle there without fear of encountering too many cars.

As the ride progresses it gets more challenging.

There is a significant elevation change if one were to ride the entire route to Detroit.

Lingelbach said that the change is gradual though.

Estacada Chamber of Commerce President Jordan Winthrop mentioned that it would be nice to be able to tell cyclists where along the route they could expect cellphone service.

Lingelbach said that there would be no cellphone service at all along several portions of the ride.

“You are really isolated up there. I would recommend you bring a companion. You’re in wilderness,” Lingelbach said.

In addition, no shoulders or bike lanes will be added to the existing roadways.

“We’re not doing anything new to the roadways,” Lingelbach cautioned.

However, should the route be designated as a scenic bike way, signage indicating the route and potential hazards, etc., would be increased.

Michael Chaveas, District Ranger at the Clackamas River District of the Mt. Hood National Forest pointed out that the route is already used by cyclists, but they may not go the whole way to Detroit.

He said that the forest service’s biggest concern is safety.

The route utilizes some forest service roads, which aren’t maintained in the same way as Oregon Department of Transportation Roads.

However, Chaveas said that the Oregon Department of Transportation doesn’t have a single report of a cyclist fatality on the route between Estacada and Detroit since 1985.

“I think it’s relatively low risk. I would rather take my chances here than in Portland or something,” Chaveas said.

Once the application process for the proposed scenic bike route is complete, the proposal will go before the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission for a vote.



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