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Veteran trail riders make their case

My wife and I recently relocated to McMinnville from Wisconsin.

In our short time here, we have been most impressed by the friendliness of the residents who have welcomed us, providing a feeling of belonging. We have joined a Senior Center bicycling group, learned to play pickleball through McMinnville Parks and Recreation, and joined a downhill ski group.

A major aspect that attracted us to McMinnville was the agricultural community.

In Wisconsin, we were surrounded by small farming communities which provided quiet backroads with wide shoulders for safe bicycling. By contrast, we have discovered many roads in this area are quite busy and narrow, with no shoulder or designated bike lanes.

We have found few paved, low-traffic routes, limiting most of our rides to the southwest corner of town. We feel the addition of the Westsider Trail would provide more options for bicycling toward Yamhill and points north.

During travels throughout the country, we have ridden on many rail trails, and have always enjoyed the experience of a safe ride. These trails are widely used by families, as they offer an opportunity to ride without the risks associated with vehicular traffic.

The Elroy-Sparta trail in Wisconsin was one of the first. Along this trail, we have seen small farmstands offering baked goods, fruits and vegetables from the local farmers.

The Root River Trail in southern Minnesota passes through m [ABOVE] any small towns with busy restaurants, bakeries, shops and inns, thanks to the bicyclists who visit. On a recent visit, we found the quaint inns to be completely booked, due to the volume of visitors.

On the Pine Creek Trail in Tioga, Pennsylvania, and Chessie Nature Trail in Buena Vista, Virginia, we biked among grazing cattle and the solitude of forests. On the Peavine Trail in Prescott, Arizona, we passed amazing rock formations and pristine lakes.

On all these trails, we enjoyed the company of other cyclists and opportunity to learn more about the area. We felt safe and never experienced any trash, graffiti or loitering.

Back in Oregon, we enjoy the Banks-Vernonia trail. On several trips, it has been difficult to find a parking space, which demonstrates the trail’s popularity.

We enjoy lunch in Vernonia, supporting the economy of this village, and I believe the Yamhelas Westsider Trail would provide similar support in Yamhill and Carlton.

My wife and I have ridden hundreds of miles on such trails without experiencing any negative impacts. In general, the neighboring farms and communities have welcomed us into their environment. They seem appreciative of the commerce gained from the respectful visitors passing through.

We are in support of this trail. We hope our new community can prioritize the benefits offered to the entire population, not bend to the boisterous few in opposition.

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