Cooks Butte Trail Planning
The first Cooks Butte Trails Plan public meeting was held on March 16, 2010 at Lakeridge High School. Meeting attendees shared their experiences with hiking in, and living adjacent to, the park. Trail planners explained the project goals, opportunities and issues.
The Draft Trail Plan for Cooks Butte was presented and discussed on April 13 at the second public meeting for the project. Public input was taken until the beginning of May. After reviewing the comments received at two public meetings and the comments generated from project information posted on the City’s website, Parks staff and consultants created a final Trail Action Plan for Cooks Butte.
The Trail Action Plan will guide development of new trails in the park and show which trails will be removed. The Cooks Butte Trail Plan will be used as the official trail map for the park and it will appear on park signage, brochures and on the website.
Listed below are some of the concerns that were raised during the planning process and how the issues were addressed:
Mountain Bikes: Many meeting attendees raised concerns about mountain bike use the park. Mountain bike use on woodland trails can cause erosion. Trails that are intended for use by both hikers and bikers need to be designed specifically for this use and need to be wider, have wider turning radii, and have higher clearance than hiker only trails. The trail planners felt that the park area was not large enough to support mountain bike use, thus bikes will be discouraged on the trails at Cooks Butte Park.
Parking: Trail user parking was a big issue at both public meetings. The trail planners had suggested the consideration of adding a trailhead parking area in the Park at the end of Palisades Crest Drive. Meeting attendees and neighbors were unanimous in their opposition to this addition. The trailhead parking area was not included in the final plans for the trail system. Parking for trail users will continue to be on street or at the limited spots at Stevens Meadow.
Trails to be Removed: Several trails that are very steep and exhibit erosion problems will be removed and their sites restored. Some of these steep trails have slopes exceeding 25%. Some trails are also accessed across private property and these trails will also be removed. All of the trails to be removed are shown on the Trail Action Plan.
New Trails: To continue to provide trail access from public streets, looping opportunities and an enjoyable hiking experience, as well as relocate very steep trails, new trails will be constructed. Relocated trails offer better topography and in some cases will bring users to new areas of the Park. The trail planners had suggested a trail connecting Ridge Pointe Drive to the meadow but the neighbors and meeting attendees were opposed to this trail due to parking concerns on the narrow street. New trails will be constructed using US Forest Service standards for hiking surface, drainage and cross section. The maximum grade for new trails will be approximately 15%. New trails are shown on the Trail Action Plan.
Construction Schedule: Contingent upon funding, it is anticipated that the project will be bid out this summer with construction work to be completed in September and October. Restoration plantings will be installed after the trails are constructed.