The first update to the Ashland Trail Master Plan since its inception in 2006 currently in the works includes updates taking into account a number of property acquisitions, allowing for additional trail corridors.
That’s according to a progress report given to the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission at its meeting Monday, Sept. 17.
Michael Black, director of Ashland Parks and Recreation, said that the property acquired since the first master plan was completed allows room for growth and creativity.
“There are new thoughts with corridors,” Black said. “Some properties became available that weren’t on the plan before and we ended up putting trails through those properties … so this document is quite an update. It’s pretty comprehensive.”
Jeffrey McFarland has served in the Parks Department in various established positions for more than 30 years. After retiring in July, he was asked to remain on the Trails Master Plan Committee.
“The goal is to develop trails that would fulfill the needs for the future because our trials are being used by more and more people,” McFarland said. “The trail system we have now has developed a lot over the last 10 or more years and is becoming more popular. Most of the changes will hopefully provide better connections.”
McFarland said the update to the master plan began in January of 2017 and, since then, multiple public forums have been held to gain the public’s opinion of what the next 10 years should look like.
“We’ve tried to incorporate everyone’s suggestions and concerns,” McFarland said.
He said there are also new lands added to the document called the East Side and West Side forest land areas. These areas have added to some of the regional trail chapters in the document.
“There are newer lands that have been included in the regional trails chapter with more information … about a couple of newer regional trail connections including the Bear Creek Greenway plan extension through the Ashland section,” McFarland said.
He said the plan is to eventually extend the Greenway from where it currently begins in Ashland at the dog park on Nevada Street over to the Nature Center at North Mountain Park.
All the new trails added within the last 12 years have been updated, as well such as the Red Queen and Bandersnatch trails.
McFarland said the issue of parking was ranked high on the priority list, while the committee considers trail connection routes with the hopes to have more parking near trail heads.
“We also hope to have more trails to accommodate ADA and all different types of trails are included in the plan,” McFarland said. “Hiker trails, biker trails, equestrian and multi-use and shared which is multiple combinations of those uses.”
“Part of the vision and study is to think about possible connections which might help facilitate sustainable trails,” McFarland said.
The drafts and photographs have been sent to a Portland graphic artist, the same artist who produced the first master plan document. McFarland said the goal is to have a completed rough draft back by the next committee meeting on Oct. 5.
“Nothing changes as far as trails are concerned, it only expands on existing trails in a positive way,” Black said.
For more information on Ashland trails, visit www.ashland.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=480.
Also at the parks meeting, Black asked APRC how they would like to proceed with the restoration of the Butler-Perozzi fountain as the Fergonese family asked for the commission’s help last month in procuring the funds and making sure the restoration is completed.
“What we decided in the meeting was that we would start looking into any data that we currently have that would help us better determine the cost and scope of the project and then to find someone to give an estimate on what the cost should be because the feeling is maybe it won’t cost as much as everyone thinks it will,” Black said.
Black said if the project is much less than the current goal of $500,000, then work could begin much faster.
“The commissioners are in favor of what the Fregoneses are doing and we want to work with them to try and get the fountain restored,” Black said.