We’ve all imagined—and maybe even salivated a little bit in the process—what it’d be like having access to a trail that connected Corvallis to the coast. Sure, Highway 20 can get you there. And there are plenty of twists, turns, and fewer cars if you take a side drive along Route 180 through Eddyville. But that’s if you’re traveling by automobile. Hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers have something else in mind.
Soon, those wishing to take a car-free journey from Corvallis to the Pacific Ocean will have a way to do it. One group is working with the U.S. Forest Service and Siuslaw National Forest, private land owners, and Benton and Lincoln counties to bring a new trail to life: the Corvallis-to-the-Sea (C2C) Trail. The C2C Partnership is a collaborative group of citizens, businesses, and organizations that have wanted to bring the C2C Trail to life for more than a decade.
Now, the group is very close to reaching its big goal as the eastern route of the trail, spanning from Corvallis to Big Elk Campground near Eddyville, is set to open in 2016.
The C2C Partnership has obtained agreements with private landowners, Starker Forests, and the Siuslaw National Forest, and aspires to have an official opening date of June 4—a.k.a. National Trails Day. Volunteers have worked to build various sections of the eastern route, and still need to install signs and have official maps printed.
“It is so ‘doable’ if government agencies, local governments, and private landowners allow it. We know it is physically possible [to take this route] as we have backpacked the route four times in the past decade,” said Gary Chapman, president of the C2C Trail Partnership.
He added that past efforts as far back as 1974 to get the trail established and open have failed for various reasons, most of which have been overcome with current efforts.
Those efforts include lots of work, like obtaining fiscal and volunteer resources to enable trail construction, management, and maintenance, along with planning critical products from signs to maps and tool purchases.
“It’s a nice, local alternative for long-distance outings, an easy two-day bike ride, and a possible one-day bike ride,” Chapman said. “The coast is a cool destination.”
The C2C Partnership welcomes more approvals from private landowners that would increase off-road miles for users, and volunteers are also more than welcome to join in the overall effort.
The western half of the C2C Trail, which would end somewhere near Ona Beach next to Highway 101, is still being notched out on the map, and agreements need to be made with the U.S. Forest Service. Chapman added the partnership has the support of Lincoln County and an opening date for the western half depends on what the trail will actually end up looking like and what class it ends up being. An environmental study would also need to be completed. He envisions that section opening within a year or two from the time an agreement is reached with the Forest Service.
The C2C Partnership has a handful of “show and tell” hikes tentatively planned for the spring and summer months. For up-to-date details about hiking dates and locations, and more info about volunteering or donating, visit www.c2ctrail.org.
By Abbie Tumbleson