Hikers to enjoy old growth trees and access to parks
by: marcus hathcock, The city's Tickle Creek Trail provides a serene jaunt out of the suburbs and into the forest.

The Sandy City Council on Monday, April 7, approved an agreement with the United States Forest Service to oversee the Tickle Creek Trail project.

Officials hope that the trail can be complete by fall and note that by utilizing the skills of the Forest Service, the city will save $314,750.

'Their whole approach to it really allows us to tap into the experience they've gained at doing this at the least possible cost,' said Sandy City Manager Scott Lazenby. 'We're really lucky to have the headquarters here in town to make something like this work.'

The crushed, compacted gravel trail will be 6 feet wide and approximately a mile and a half long between 362nd Avenue and the Barlow Trail. It has been a top priority in the city's Park Master Plan, which was created 11 years ago.

In the future, the trail also may serve as a series of trails that people can use to go from Portland to Mount Hood, and would include the Springwater and Barlow trails. That larger vision helped bring the Forest Service on board.

'That's a pretty major amount of mileage to cover,' said Kathleen Walker, chairman of the Park Board and a Forest Service employee. 'It serves both community and regional trail purposes.'

Walker suggested the idea of partnering with the Forest Service after seeing a successful relationship between the Forest Service and Clackamas County in the construction of 10 miles of new trails in Government Camp. And since heavy snows have prevented AmeriCorps trail crews from starting work on Mount Hood this year, they are currently available to start on the Tickle Creek Trail.

'It's just kind of getting it all to come together,' said Walker, who noted she is not involved on the Forest Service side of the project. 'There's an opportunity to work in Sandy until (the snow melts).'

The city will contribute $35,250 for the project, which previously had a budget of $350,000, and will be responsible for operation and maintenance costs. No estimates were available for how much those costs would be, but they likely would include activities such as clearing brush.

Staff members from both the Forest Service and the city of Sandy hiked the trail alignment March 11 and liked what they saw.

'It's just a jewel of an old-growth corridor through town,' Walker said. 'It's going to be an asset to the community.'

'Once you get on the trail, it's just as if you're in the middle of a wilderness,' said city Parks Director Nancy Enabnit. 'You can't hear the road. You hear the creek.'

The trail likely will include trails created by individuals and will provide views of the creek, old-growth trees and access to a number of city parks in the area.

'People in the neighborhoods and parks would have an entrance to the trail,' Lazenby said. 'You could go park to park almost.'

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