New trails could garner scenic designation

The Sterling Ditch Mine Trail doesn't have to be the Rogue Valley's only state-designated Scenic Trail.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is now taking applications from groups or individuals who want to nominate a trail for either scenic or regional designation.

The application period opens annually Oct. 1 and runs through November.

"If there was another trail that people wanted to submit, now's the time," says Rocky Houston, state parks' trails coordinator.

The state Recreation Trails Act of 1971 spells out what trails qualify as scenic and regional trails.

Scenic trails need to be at least 1 mile long, be open to the public and travel over public land or private lands with rights of way, Houston says. They are also judged by members of the Oregon Trails Advisory Council for their design, condition and setting, he says.

Regional trails must be longer than 5 miles and connect communities and places, Houston says. Regional trails tend to be more urban in nature, he says. The Bear Creek Greenway was tapped as a regional trail in early 2013.

Both scenic and regional trail designations are for nonmotorized traffic.

The state's other classification is for Scenic Bikeways, which are cycling routes over low-traffic roads or bike paths.

For more descriptions, information and applications, visit the program's website at www.oregon.gov/oprd/Trail_Programs_Services/Pages/Trails-Designation-Programs.aspx

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