Volunteer committee of Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District is mulling trail north of Interstate 26.

STAFF PHOTO: BRIANA BAYER - Committee member pour over a map of the park district in discussing best strategy for natural resource land acquisition.Volunteer members of the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District's Nature and Trails Advisory Committee voted on a master plan for the Bonny Slope Trail on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the committee's monthly gathering.THPRD

Senior Park Planner Steve Gulgren presented two options for a new paved trail that will connect Northwest South Drive and 117th Drive to Bonny Slope Elementary School. THPRD agreed to build the trail when it purchased the 1.82-acre parcel of wooded land from the Beaverton School District.

Members voted unanimously to keep the existing wood-chip trail that connects South Drive to the elementary school, and in a 5-4 vote, chose the slightly steeper — 7.8 percent — grade and less lengthy of two options for the asphalt trail, which will feature one flat landing.

Students of the elementary school most heavily use the current soft-surface trail which allows an alternative route to the busy Northwest McDaniel Road.

THPRD aims to present the concept to the public at a Dec. 14 neighborhood meeting for further comment, and then to the THPRD Board of Directors at their January meeting.

The nature and trails committee then turned its focus to discussing land acquisition strategy with an emphasis on natural resource land. With $3.2 million in capital to spend, THPRD is looking to acquire parcels of land on the fringes of the park district, with the aim of connecting or augmenting existing properties to make them more valuable, both biologically and aesthetically to the communities that border them.

"The primary objective of the land is to preserve the work of nature," said board member John Griffiths.

THPRD is eyeing property in the northern part of the district in the Bronson Creek area, where increased acreage could connect THPRD property to Forest Park, as well as riparian acreage in the Cooper Mountain area, both of which have the greatest potential for large land acquisition according to Griffiths.

The advisory committee adjourned its meeting with much to mull over in terms of future acquisition, when it will meet with its newest committee member — applications are due by Dec. 3 for people who reside in the park district and are interested in joining—and newly elected chairwoman Laura Porter.

The Nature and Trails Advisory Committee's purpose is to guide management of natural areas, associated community engagement, trail use and development.

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