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Newly detailed trails map says to take a hike

County map hopes to inspire residents to explore hideaways

St. Helens' Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission is giving citizens something they never had before: a map of the city's many - and sometimes elusive - trails.

The map could be good for tourism, said Commission Chair Cindy Sutliff, but really, it's more for the people who already live here, to show them 'that there is so much neat stuff in St. Helens and Columbia County.'

The map highlights roadways with bicycle lanes, city parks, nature trails and streets with sidewalks. On one side is a map of St. Helens. On the other side is a smaller map of Columbia County with trail loops, campsites and other attractions marked in bright colors. Residents probably already know about 80 percent of what's presented on the map, Sutliff said, but they may not realize what else they've missed.

Trail fragments and bicycle routes snake in and out of residential areas in St. Helens, some unmarked and many often going unnoticed except by the people who live near them. Small parks are tucked away in the middle of neighborhoods.

'There's a lot of people out there that only think there are two parks (in the city): McCormick Park and the park by the marina,' Sutliff said.

She hopes to eventually bring other Columbia County cities on board. It would be relatively easy and inexpensive for a city to paste in its own trail map using the format the commission established with the St. Helens map. Sutliff said the commission was able to find local sponsors and businesses willing to purchase ad space to help fund the map's design and printing.

In the meantime, the commission hopes the map will generate interest in the outdoors as well as feedback. Based on any comments it receives, the commission plans to revise the map for a second printing in January.

'I'm sure there are things out there that we missed,' Sutliff said.

St. Helens Bicycle and Pedestrian Maps can be found at the St. Helens City Hall, the St. Helens Chamber of Commerce, on the Columbia County Rider buses and at the advertisers' locations in St. Helens.

Advertisers and sponsors include: Ace Hardware, Wauna Federal Credit Union, CC Rider, Columbia River PUD, Columbia River BMX, Columbia County Fairgrounds, Klondike Restaurant and Bar, Kozy Korner Restaurant and Lounge, and Barlow Bikes and Boards.