Donna and Jeff Chamberlain begin their 68-mile ride over Skevington Crossing in support of Rogue River’s greenway project Saturday. Mail Triune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch

The Greenway runs through it

ROGUE RIVER — Hundreds of cyclists visible around the valley Saturday weren't leftovers from Cycle Oregon, they were participants in Southern Oregon's own "Ride the Rogue."

Several hundred turned up for the second annual ride and fundraiser for the Rogue River Greenway community project. The 64-mile ride began in Rogue River's Palmerton Park Saturday morning.

Cyclists of all ages, from all over Oregon and the Northwest came to support the greenway, get in a good ride, and socialize with the biking community.

Rider George Scott, 59, lives next to a portion of the greenway and wanted to show his support.

"I like the greenway, and thought it would be a great way to get in 64 miles," he said.

This year's turnout is up quite a bit from last year's 675 participants. Among yesterday's cyclists, was state Sen. Jason Atkinson, along with his wife and a group of friends. Atkinson says he's an avid cyclist and a supporter of the greenway project.

All registration proceeds and donations to the event are put to work for the outdoor community.

"We use this money and parlay it to make 10 times more," event manager and greenway advocate Shayne Maxwell said.

In addition to raising money, she also hopes to raise awareness about the project and educate drivers and cyclists about how to share the road.

According to Ride the Rogue's Web site, the goal is to connect the Bear Creek Greenway with the new greenway in Rogue River, creating a continuous auto-free path from Ashland to Grants Pass.

"Upon completion, this project will connect eight cities, two counties, and create over 50 miles of regional connectivity through Southern Oregon," according to the Web site.

Maxwell calls the riverfront greenway area a "recreational corridor." It is considered a prime location for many of Southern Oregon's favorite pastimes: fishing, whitewater rafting, biking and hiking.

She's troubled by the quickly disappearing riverfront property, and hopes to preserve some of it for the public's enjoyment.

"The greenway is just the ribbon that will connect all the wonderful places along the river," Maxwell said.

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