Saturday, March 29, 2014
Although it’s not exactly the route they were looking for, the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District has applied to the City of Hood River Planning Department to extend a portion of the Indian Creek Trail that lies behind the Columbia Gorge Community College Indian Creek campus.
The extension would be 528 feet long and run from the main footbridge that crosses the creek northwest of the college campus, cut west through a brushy area, and link up with Devon Court and the Avalon neighborhood on the other side.
Lori Stirn, director of Parks and Rec, said her organization has been attempting to extend the trail for the past 14 years through the Campbell property to the southwest of the college and link up with Broken Tee Drive, the Indian Creek Golf Course, and eventually the portion of the trail that runs by Hood River Valley High School, but the attempts have been unsuccessful. Currently, the portion of the trail that runs behind the college meanders along Indian Creek for 0.7 miles before dead-ending at the boundary of the Campbell property.
The new connection is shorter, farther to the north and requires more walking through residential streets before linking up with the portion of the trail near the golf course, but users now have a place to exit to the west as opposed to exiting east to the college or turning around at the dead-end and walking back on the same segment of trail.
“This Devon Court connection, people are already using it,” Stirn noted. “We’re working with the college and adjacent property owners to make it more convenient for people who live there to get to the Heights.
“It’s not a destination trail,” Stirn added. “It’s just for the neighborhood.”
Indeed, a primitive trail has already been hacked through what would have otherwise been an impenetrable blackberry thicket, but it is in need of improvements. After exiting the blackberry bushes, the trail runs through a tiny .13-acre sliver of land that splits two residential properties that lie on the Devon Court cul-de-sac before terminating at the sidewalk.
Stirn said a resident of the neighborhood “who wanted to get through the thick blackberry bushes” contacted Parks and Rec about possibly extending the trail through the .13-acre property. Stirn said Parks and Rec contacted the property owner, Doug Beveridge of Hood River Homes, who was supportive of providing an easement for the trail. CGCC, which owns the other parcel that the extension would run through, is also supportive, according to Stirn.
Currently, Parks and Rec needs to have city planning approve an amendment to its conditional use permit for the trail before the extension can be constructed. Like other portions of the Indian Creek Trail, Stirn said Parks and Rec will likely add a boardwalk over the marshy portions and add a pet waste disposal station to improve the extension.
Stirn said if the amendment is approved, Parks and Rec plans to begin working on the new segment of trail as early as this spring.