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home : opinions : opinions June 25, 2016

7/30/2013 12:37:00 PM
Paved trail system offers positive benefits
By Randy McCall

The proposed paved trail between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch has prompted more than a few to write letters raising issues of cost, environmental damage, worries about future maintenance, and as I recall someone even wrote that since their children didn't have good access to quality safe routes and they still managed to grow up, why should others?

As a homeowner in Tollgate, I see nothing but positives from such a trail system. I love riding bikes in this area, but taking the back trails to the high school this time of year on loose and sandy trails/roads is not only really hard, it's somewhat challenging to keep upright.

Riding on Highway 20 is just plain scary - great shoulder, good road surface, and there's nothing wrong with that, if only there weren't semi-trucks and campers and all manner of folks barreling down on me at 60 mph. I never know which one is actually paying attention and not drifting off the road at the wrong time.

For all of you who say no, the proposed paved trail is a bad idea, I just wish you would pick up that old bike you haven't ridden in years and venture out onto either of the two alternatives to get to Sisters from Tollgate. You would learn firsthand how much of an improvement a dedicated trail separate from the road would be to me, to my wife, to your kids, and to anyone looking for a safe, quite, and stress-free alternative to current routes.

Its going to cost some money - what doesn't?

Our taxes support so many things I don't agree with, but that's the cost of living in this country where we willingly fund all sorts of programs, infrastructure projects, and ventures into world-wide affairs that don't really affect me personally.

Having lived in other areas with well-planned dedicated bike/pedestrian paths that connected communities over many miles, the benefits were so overwhelming compared to the negatives that it is personally very hard to understand how someone could not see how great this would be.

As for environmental destruction as it has been termed, trees will be cut, but how is that any different than the hundreds of existing forest roads throughout the forest surrounding the planned routes? For most of the proposed route these are not undisturbed old-growth forests; they are cut over and regenerated forests next to a major transportation corridor. Let's not forget that there are three major carve-outs in these forests outside of Sisters with BBR, Tollgate, and Crossroads plopped right in the middle of the forest lands the NIMBYs want to protect from a path.

One of the most vocal of the naysayers lives in Tollgate and I see writers suggesting that other residents like me don't want this trail system. I say bring it and I'll be happy to use it, help to maintain it, and happy to wave and say hi to others similarly enjoying what our tax dollars can do to improve our lives on a local basis.

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