Gold Hill Public Works Director Royal Gasso walks along a new gravel path along the Rogue River. - Jim Craven

Civic group finishes park trail

GOLD HILL — Thanks to a local civic group and a very civic-minded resident, the city has a new addition to its trails system.

Funded by Can-DO, the meandering gravel loop winds from the Sports Park boat ramp down to the Rogue River and back up to the paved bike path by the park's baseball diamonds.

Can-DO members raised $2,000 to help pay for the brush clearing, gravel installation and boulder edging, said Public Works Director Royal Gasso.

"When that wasn't enough, some of the Can-DO members personally donated another $500," said board member Gloria Eilefson.

"We thought the River Loop Trail was an important project," she added.

Gold Hill resident Mike Newman, owner of Creative Land Design, donated his time and skills for the 1,700-foot-long trail project, said Gasso. The new gravel trail, like a previous 2,400-foot section Newman helped build two summers ago, is designed to enhance the city's paved bike paths.

"Mike did the big excavation," said Gasso, adding Newman used his own equipment to clear the trail, spread the gravel and level the walkway.

The gravel path is outside the two-year floodway and is not at risk of major damage even if the river should rise, said Gasso.

"It will withstand normal flood conditions because it's far enough out of the floodway," Gasso said. "Flooding occurred in another area and it basically just seated the gravel into the path."

The purpose of the two trails is to provide walkers better access to the Rogue River, Gasso said. Near the end of the new trail, Newman has started to create a lookout, a spot where walkers can get out of the heat and enjoy the view of the Rogue River, said Gasso. Near a viewing site still under construction, water spills from canals near the old powerhouse building and rushes toward the Rogue River.

"We removed some of the brush, but the large trees will stay. We want to be sure to leave enough vegetation so that it stays shady," Gasso said, leading the way to the future lookout during a Monday afternoon tour.

Nestled back in the trees, two hikers startled the city official by offering their thanks over the city's efforts. One of their favorite swimming areas is much more accessible now, the two men said.

"Thank you very much for the trail," said Steve Erickson, a former Gold Hill resident who now lives in Grants Pass. "It's a lot easier to get back here now."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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