Plans proposed to expand Bear Creek Greenway

Ashland, Ore. — An extension could be coming soon to the Bear Creek Greenway.

Ashland Parks and Recreation is proposing an expansion from the Ashland Dog Park to North Mountain Park.

“I’ve got a high-stress job so it really allows me to relax, connect with nature, and get in better shape,” Jacksonville resident Teresa Culbertson said.

Jacksonville resident Teresa Culbertson bikes the Bear Creek Greenway at least two times per week.

Not only is it a good way to stay in shape, but she enjoys doing it as she cruises through nature.

“The scenery’s amazing. I mean you’ve got the creek going through there, you’ve got the trees, the grasses, the fields… You’re just going through one after the other of beautiful sceneries,” Culbertson said.

After hearing the city of Ashland is considering an expansion of the trail.

Culbertson says she’s all for it.

“Every area that has these… Offers so much more to the community. It’s great for families, it’s great for people of ages to get back in fitness, to walk, and rollerblade,” Culbertson said.

Ashland Parks and Recreation Director Michael Black says the greenway was originally intended to span all the way to Emigrant Lake, but there are eight miles that still need to be built.

This project would cover part of that by extending it from the Ashland Dog Park to North Mountain Avenue.

“We have an existing section of trail in North Mountain Park, and then we have a gap between North Mountain Park and the dog park — we’re filling in that gap,” Michael Black said.

According to Black, funding would most likely come from the food and beverage tax, as well as state grants.

He says the goal of the project is to create a usable and safe network for people to travel throughout Ashland.

“We need to hear from the public that we’re actually going to accomplish that,” Black said.

Culbertson says she’s on board, and hopes the proposed expansion will encourage more people to appreciate the greenway.

“People should get out, come down to the bikeway and use it because it’s such a great thing,” Culbertson said.

Anyone with feedback on the proposed expansion is invited to a meeting Thursday night from 6-8 at North Mountain Park Nature Center.

If everything goes as planned, Black says the project would most likely begin in the next two years.

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