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Salmonberry Trail project connecting Banks to coast gets approval

It will be an 84-mile stretch of trail connecting hikers and bikers in the Portland area to the coast.

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Update: On Friday, the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency approved signing a trail use lease with Port of Tillamook Bay, allowing STIA to move ford with eventual development of Salmonberry Trail.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A major milestone is expected for the Salmonberry Trail Project. Friday, the project manager expects the Port of Tillamook Bay will approve their lease and work can finally begin.

It will be an 84-mile stretch of trail connecting hikers and bikers in the Portland area to the coast. The trail would start in Banks.

“It's a great way to spend the day,” said Melanie Moler who we met after she finished a 42-mile bike ride on the Banks-Vernonia Trail. “You see some beautiful land.”

The Salmonberry Trail would not only be a scenic journey from Banks through the Coast Range and to Tillamook, but it would follow a historic path along old railroad tracks.

“Running along this old historic corridor which has all these historical connections,” said Project Manager Dennis Wiley. “This railroad really connected the coast to Portland for the first time ever.”

Wiley says the trail will attract tourists from all over the world.

“There are a number of high trestles particularly in the coast range. The tallest is 165 feet high and you have expansive views of river systems and wooded hillsides. There's also nine tunnels you would travel through.”

Moler says she can't wait to try it.

“It’s a great way of getting to the coast without having to get in your car.”

She will have to wait though. Wiley expects there will be more planning, public dialogue and fundraising before construction starts. And it will likely be five years before even some sections are completed. Until then he warns hiking on or around the tracks right now is dangerous and illegal.