THE SALMONBERRY TRAIL: A VISION OF RECONNECTION

For more than a century, the forests, farms and towns on either side of Oregon’s Coast Range Mountains were sewn together by a common but tenuous thread: an 86-mile long railroad line built at the turn of the 20th century by steam, horsepower and ingenuity.

 
 

For generations, the line served Oregon communities, connecting families and commerce as it traveled through the most rugged and remote reaches of the Coast Range, from the beaches of Tillamook County to the bustling stations of the Portland area. It was the first and sole connection to the Coast until the highways we know today were built in the early 1940s. 

But catastrophic winter storms in 2007 severed this historic connection where it passes through the remote Salmonberry River canyon, and the prohibitively high cost of restoring rail service all along the line provides new opportunities for reimagining its future use. 

Today, a growing community of interest and support—which started with communities on the Coast and is spreading throughout the region—is planning to reconnect this passage over the Coast Range for the future as the Salmonberry Trail, Oregon’s most ambitious rail-trail project and mixed-use non-motorized path.

Parts of the line are still in active rail use, and the portions that have been storm- damaged are too dangerous for public access. We know there’s interest in getting back out into this historic passage over the Coast Range, and we’re working on it. But what remains is just not ready—nor is it safe—for public access. Here is a link to other nearby non-motorized trail options in the Tillamook State Forest that you can enjoy.

In the meantime, please join the growing community of support for the Salmonberry Trail by making a financial donation, following us on social media, or joining our mailing list for ongoing updates. Click around the site for more background on the project and our partners, and drop us a note with your thoughts.

THE FOUR SEGMENTS

The Coast

The 26 mile section of the trail hugs the coast from the City of Wheeler on the north, to the City of Tillamook on the south.  Along the way, this “rail with trail” route passes through the Cities of Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, and Bay City, and provides non-motorized travelers with a safe alternative to Highway 101.  The trail will also connect numerous state, county, and city parks located along the coast, and provide access to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and other popular tourist stops.

Nehalem River

This section spans 17 miles, from the confluence of the Salmonberry and Nehalem Rivers to the City of Wheeler, located on the shores of scenic Nehalem Bay.  In this section, the trail will be located adjacent to what will remain an active scenic railroad operation (rail with trail).  Users will enjoy views of the Nehalem River, including Nehalem Falls, and the lush farmlands of Tillamook County as the trail approaches the coast.

 

Salmonberry River

This 16 mile section is the wildest, passing through the rugged and remote Salmonberry River canyon.  Along the way are numerous tunnels and bridges, lush riparian forests, and spectacular views of the river.  This section of trail will be for the most adventurous users, with limited access or facilities along the way.

The Valley

Approximately 25 miles of “rail to trail”, this segment starts at the City of Banks, and rises 1600 feet in elevation to its summit at Cochran, west of Timber.  The trail passes over several historic trestles along the way, as it travels through the farmlands and wine country of the Tualatin Valley, and the young Douglas-fir forests in the area of the Tillamook Burn fires of the 1930’s and 40’s.

SALMONBERRY NEWS

ABOUT

Oregon’s dense forests have long served as the backbone of our state’s economy. For generations, our timber and natural resource industries drew workers and families, and sparked brisk business as rural towns thrived. Today, the rugged region is a melting pot of working forests, farms and natural habitats, and a resource in the rough for many people who enjoy the Pacific Northwest’s world-class outdoor recreation activities, such as biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

These rural towns seek to recast their economic futures to encompass more than their traditional timber-based past. Communities are eager to imagine a more vibrant and sustainable future that draws on their shared natural resource heritage, and adds family wage jobs. These towns are keen to strengthen their bonds with one another, united in the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats. 

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