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The Oregonian: New Bikeway on the Curry Coast

June 25, 2015

By Terry Richard | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Cyclists have two new State Scenic Bikeways with this week's approval of two more in southern Oregon by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission.

The Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway, based at Ashland, and the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway, based at Port Orford, are both long, winding routes into the mountains.

The commission formally approved the new designations June 24 at a meeting in Joseph.

"We are pleased to expand the Bikeways program to include the beauty and adventure in southern Oregon," said Alexandra Phillips, state scenic bikeways coordinator, in a statement released by Oregon State Parks. "Both routes offer the best of Oregon cycling: culture, scenery, diverse ecosystems and wonderful cycling experiences."

The Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway passes rugged and rocky ocean views unique to the south coast and old-growth forest along the federally-designated wild and scenic Elk River. The 60-mile ride is anchored in the quaint fishing community of Port Orford, the oldest town on the Oregon coast.

The Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway incorporates 5,000 feet of steep and winding climbs through oak savannah and the ecologically diverse ecosystem of the Cascade Mountains. The 55-mile route starts in Ashland, famous for theater, dining and proximity to many outdoor recreation opportunities.

New bikeway routes are proposed by local cyclists and selected for their scenic quality, road conditions and general riding enjoyment. Proposed routes are carefully reviewed and ridden, with only about half meeting the criteria for designation. Once designated, directional signs are installed along the route, and staff post information online for riders to plan their trip, including printable maps, elevation profiles, services and points of interest.

"Oregon recognizes the significance of bicycle tourism, as it brings around $400 million per year to the state," said Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon chief executive officer, in a statement released by state parks. "The Scenic Bikeways program highlights stunning areas to ride throughout Oregon. In addition to creating lasting memories for visitors, these bikeways also help generate jobs in the communities they cross through."

Oregon's Scenic Bikeway program launched in 2005 and continues to be the only such program in the nation. The program comprises 14 designated Scenic Bikeways representing a total of 982 miles. It's coordinated through a partnership between Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State Parks.

Information bicyclists need to plan their ride can be found on rideoregonride.com/cascadesiskiyou andrideoregonride.com/wildriverscoast, including printable maps, accommodations and amenities along the route. Directional signage will be posted along the routes later this summer.

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