Thurston Hills Mountain Bike Trails Grand Opening

Mountain biking on Willamalane's ew McKenzie Trail east of Springfield. (Photo by Chris Pietsch)
July Saturday 14
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Willamalane Park and Recreation District along with Disciples of Dirt will open a new mountain bike trail system at Thurston Hills Natural Area, (7575 Main Street) on Saturday, July 14 at 1 p.m.

The grand opening ceremony will include light refreshments and remarks from Michael Wargo, Willamalane superintendent, and Peter O’Toole, Disciples of Dirt trail work coordinator.

“These are the first natural-surface mountain bike trails in the region,” said Fraser MacDonald, Natural Resources Planner at Willamalane. The system boasts over five miles of trails optimized for biking. The 2.2 miles of new downhill mountain bike trails are in addition to the hiking trails that were unveiled in January.

Willamalane funded this project in part from their 2012 bond measure. Additionally, they received $154,000 in grant funding from Oregon State Parks Recreational Trails Program to support construction of this project. As part of that grant, the Disciples of Dirt pledged volunteer labor to support construction. To date, Disciples of Dirt have donated over 1,900 hours of volunteer help. They assisted with removing vegetation, armoring stream crossings, bridge building, trail digging, and leading teams of less-experienced volunteers. In addition to providing volunteer hours, the Disciples of Dirt also donated $27,000 to the project, with $20,000 in grant funding from REI and another $7,000 from their members and sponsors.

“It’s been an incredible partnership and has allowed us to develop more miles of trail faster and less expensively than we could have without their support,” MacDonald said.

Willamalane also had professional support in developing mountain bike-optimized trails from trail construction contractor Ptarmigan Ptrails.

“The optimized design makes the trails easier and more fun to ride,” MacDonald said. “There are wider turns, grade reversals, berms at turns and a moderate grade that makes for a really fun experience.”

For more information about the Thurston Hills Natural Area Mountain Bike Trail Opening, contact Eric Adams, Planning, Parks, and Facilities Director, at 541-736-4048.