The Corvallis to the Sea Trail (C2C), a 62-mile trail connecting the Willamette Valley to the Pacific Coast, has been in the works since the early 1970s. After over 40 years of strenuous work and complications, the first half of the trail opened in 2017, and the second half was scheduled to be revealed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 6, 2020, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Currently, the east half of the trail is still open, as it is all public roads, private roads, and Forest Service lands, which C2C does not have control over. The west half of the trail, which was finished last year, is not officially open.
According to Gary Chapman, who is president of the board of directors for the Corvallis to the Sea Trail Partnership, there is still work to be done before this part of the trail can officially open. Currently, trail workers and volunteers are involved in installing over 100 signs on the trail to help individuals accurately follow the route. This will likely take over a month. Chapman says that he hopes the trail will open sometime in August.
COVID-19 has made trail work difficult. In particular, it has prevented carpooling to work sites, made the work process longer due to consistent disinfecting and sanitizing, and has made working in the heat harder because of necessary mask-wearing.
When the full trail does open, C2C expects trail users to follow COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines for safe hiking.
Chapman explains, “The chances are that social distancing and face masks will be required. The trail uses various city, county, state and federal lands and each has its requirements and recommendations. Private lands are still subject to whatever governmental requirements and recommendations are in force. We certainly have neither legal standing or scientific justifications to alter restrictions on any of these lands. We would certainly expect trail users to carry face masks so that they could chat with people they meet along the trail without risking contagion.”
Chapman says there is still possibility for the ribbon-cutting event to be postponed – either for later this year, or perhaps on the next National Trail Day in June 2021.
By Cara Nixon