When done, the loop will stretch from Kelley Point Park to the Pacific Crest Trail in Cascade Locks

A new trail at Blue Lake Regional Park closes a half-mile gap in the 40-Mile Loop Trail.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick will attend a celebration at the trail at 11 a.m. on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22.

Located at the junction of the Gresham-Fairview and Marine Drive trails, the new Blue Lake trail takes pedestrians and bicyclists through a scenic portion of the park.

Blue Lake Regional Park is at 20500 N.E. Marine Drive.

The path eventually will connect with sections of the 40-Mile Loop Trail being developed by the cities of Fairview, Gresham and Portland along with the Port of Portland.

A collection of regional trails, the 40-Mile Loop originally was proposed in 1904 by the Olmsted brothers, who arrived from Boston to plan a park system in Portland.

The network of trails — now frequented by walkers, runners and cyclists — has since lengthened to span more than 140 miles of Multnomah County. The trail connects more than 30 parks along the Columbia, Sandy and Willamette rivers and Johnson Creek in almost a continuous loop.

A century later, the loop is nearly complete.

When it’s done, the 40-Mile Loop will stretch from Kelley Point Park at the confluence of the  Willamette and Columbia rivers to the Pacific Crest Trail in Cascade Locks.

On his list of “high priority” transportation projects, Blumenauer supported federal funding for the new Blue Lake trail and other trails.

“The small but critically important Blue Lake Regional Park Trail not only closes a gap in the 40-Mile Loop Trail, but also brings us one step closer to a regional trail system that connects the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood with the Willamette River,” said Blumenauer in a statement to The Outlook.

Metro’s 2006 Natural Areas Bond Program, supported by the region’s voters, also helped fund the new trail.

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