Cycle Oregon ‘Gravel’ ride coming to Timber Oct. 5 – 7

Timber – On October 5 – 7, more than 400 cyclists, staff, and volunteers will flock to Timber and the surrounding region for Cycle Oregon’s inaugural ‘Gravel’ ride, starting at Reehers Camp and traversing dozens of gravel logging roads through the Tillamook State Forest and private forestland.

Participants, who’ve paid an entry fee of $265, will enjoy, after traversing rugged terrain and anywhere from 15 – 30 miles depending on the day and route, catered meals, a beer and wine garden, hot showers, and gear portage.

The ride is centered at Reehers Camp, an Oregon Department of Forestry campsite where the attendees will camp in tents and RVs, though some may opt to sleep offsite.

The event is billed in many ways as a sneak preview to the Salmonberry Trail; many of the routes will take riders near the site of where the trail could be in this portion of the rail line.

“See the abandoned rails and trestles that will someday be the Salmonberry Trail, connecting the Valley to the Coast,” reads a statement in an event brochure.

Abandoned, while perhaps a term that might seem accurate, does not correctly describe the legal status of the Port of Tillamook Bay-owned rail line. The route here is ‘railbanked,’ a distinction in the world of U.S. railroad legalese that allows an agreement between a railroad company -in this case, the Port of Tillamook Bay- and a trail agency -the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency- to build a trail on a railroad right-of-way, but still allows for future railroad use and development.

Cycle Oregon has been deeply involved in the creation of the Salmonberry Trail, funding an initial concept plan for the Salmonberry Trail, and donating additional funds in the form of grants to the project. In total, as of July 2018, $205,000 has been given to the project, more than any  single non-government entity has given to the project, according to data pulled from materials published in advance of the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency Meeting on October 4.

In preparation for the event, Cycle Oregon says they have worked with local agencies during planning for the ride.

“We have worked closely with Oregon Department of Forestry, private land owners/logging companies, county road department, local fire and rescue, and county and state law enforcement for the planning and execution of this event,” said Tom Simonson, Operations Director for Cycle Oregon in an email to the Banks Post.

Banks Fire District 13, with a fire station in Timber, is aware of the event, and will provide coverage in the area if needed during the event, according to Banks Fire District public information officer Mitch Ward.

More information, including maps of the routes, can be found here.