SISTERS, OR -- Plans for a paved path between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch are being revisited. Opposition forced the Forest Service to drop plans last year, but Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger has decided to try again.
Chuck Humphreys, with the Sisters Trails Alliance, applauds the effort "The Sisters Trails Alliance motto is 'trails for everyone,' and this is a quintessential trail that would be for everyone," Humphreys tells KBND News. "It would make the forest accessible to people who, today, can only get into it by driving. We think they ought to have the ability to walk on the trail or cycle on the trail, or push a baby stroller in the forest."
Sisters resident Susie Werts opposes the trail. "I think the process has been flawed, that there wasn't extensive community outreach to gauge of the temperament of the public. It's not going to be ADA - handicapped accessible - and it's been marketed as such, and we need to be truthful about that. It's using taxpayer money to pay for a trail between two private communities," she says. Werts also believes the location of the trail is too close to homes, "I'm not against the trail, I just think there might be greater usage on a different spot." Werts says the other side of the highway would be a better location.
Humphreys believes a majority in the area support the proposal. "When I talk to people, it's rare that I find people who are opposed to it. Most people welcome that kind of amenity. It's not a scientific survey and maybe I only talk with certain kinds of people, but I hear a tremendous amount of support."
Supporters plan to ask the Forest Service to conduct another environmental analysis on the trail by late August. If the plan is ultimately approved, the earliest construction could start would be 2020.