The Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce has lent its support to a proposed paved path between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch.

The board provided a statement of support to Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger, who has taken on the role of championing a path.

The board said, "The Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce considers the United States Forest Service and the Sisters Ranger District a unique partner in our community. Given that partnership, we are uniting as a board to stand in strong support of the proposed paved path from Black Butte Ranch to Sisters."

The path has been a matter of controversy in Sisters Country for several years. Proponents believe it will enhance community connections, provide a safe route for cyclists in the Highway 20 corridor, and enhance tourism. Opponents have raised concerns about environmental impact, costs and impacts on private property in Tollgate and at Black Butte Ranch.

The Chamber board sees the path as contributing to tourism assets.

"The Board of Directors considers our entire trails system a community asset and aligns with the community's goal to minimize the impact of vehicular traffic, to promote pedestrian, bicycle, cross-country skiing and other modes of non-motorized travel."

According to the board, a trail would help promote healthful living among locals and attract people to local businesses.

The board lauded Unger's "thoughtful and considered response to the communities (sic) request to reengage in the process, consider and mitigate opponents concerns and build this addition to our current trail system that the community has valued and used for more than a decade."

Last month, the Black Butte Ranch Homeowners Association also affirmed support of a proposed paved path.