A six-mile stretch of the popular Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail that was closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire on September 4th of last year has finally re-opened. The news comes as the Oregon Department of Transportation opens a comment period on how to reduce congestion in the Columbia River Gorge.
In an announcement this morning, ODOT said the paved biking path between the John B Yeon trailhead and Cascade Locks is now open. (Unfortunately, a separate section of the trail to the west — between Bridal Veil and Ainsworth State Park — remains closed and has no timeline for re-opening.)
The newly opened part is labeled as the Bonneville Segment on the map below…
The Yeon-to-Cascade Locks section had been closed for 13 months. The importance of this state trail is reflected in the fact that Oregon Governor Kate Brown commented on it: “The re-opening of the State Trail is a major step in the economic recovery of the region and brings us a step closer to make sure visitors from across the state and around the world can again fully experience the majesty this area has to offer.”
If you’re heading to the Gorge this weekend, ODOT has announced a few other access updates:
— The U.S. Forest Service parking lot and day use/picnic area at the Eagle Creek Recreation Site. The trailhead area and trail itself remain closed with no timeline for reopening.
— National Forest System lands north of Interstate 84 near Eagle Creek Overlook Campground, a common spot for fishing or viewing the Columbia River.
— The parking lot at the Toothrock Trailhead.
— The parking lot at the John B. Yeon Trailhead. Unpaved hiking trails at John B. Yeon remain closed as does the trail to Elowah Falls.
— Many other Gorge facilities operated by the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation remain closed.
Also this week, ODOT opened the comment period on their Historic Columbia River Highway Congestion & Transportation Safety Improvement Plan. There’s an online open house available through October 8th. An open house for the plan has also been scheduled for this Wednesday October 3rd from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Hollywood Senior Center (1820 NE 40th Ave in Portland).
In an email to BikePortland this week, ODOT’s Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Coordinator Terra Lingley shared this update:
“The one-way configuration is still on the table, just delayed until next Spring. Since the Historic Highway is still closed, we didn’t have enough time to implement the one-way, gather data and remove it in time for winter maintenance operations. The Phased Reopening is tangentially related to the Congestion and Safety Plan, and we anticipate gathering data to help inform some longer-term recommendations in the plan.”
Remember there’s a bike-friendly transit option that serves the Gorge. You can hop on the Columbia Gorge Express buses at the Gateway Transit Center and get a round-trip ticket to Multnomah Falls for $5 per person. Each bus can carry up to three bicycles.
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The post State re-opens fire-damaged section of Historic Columbia River Highway appeared first on BikePortland.org.