'Best of the best'
A 30-mile scenic bike route, that takes in mountain views above the Cove Palisades Park, is one of two new bikeways under consideration by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
Spearheading the effort to obtain the statewide designation for the Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway are Maura Schwartz and Stan Nowakowski, of Madras, and Joe Krenowicz, executive director of the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
"The route came to mind because it's a route that I ride all the time," said Nowakowski, noting that riders start in downtown Madras and pass through Culver and Metolius. "Not only is it a beautiful ride, but it connects all the communities."
The proposed bikeway starts at Sahalee Park, goes south on Seventh to D Street, and then takes a left onto Second Street to J Street/Belmont Lane. From Belmont, the route avoids the Culver Highway, but passes through Metolius, and then Culver, before following Mountain View Drive back to Belmont Lane and Madras.
The bikeway, which has received support from the county and all three communities, was the topic of discussion at a public meeting March 27, at the Madras Aquatic Center.
Alex Phillips, of Salem, bicycle program coordinator for OPRD, said that the program only designates and promotes "the best of the best for bicycle riding."
ORPD partners with Travel Oregon, Cycle Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation for the bikeway program, which currently has nine routes across the state. One of those is the Metolius River Loops in Jefferson County, which starts and stops at the Camp Sherman Store.
The OPRD will vote on the two new routes -- the Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway and the Tualatin Valley Bikeway -- at its next meeting May 8, in Baker City.
Phillips is already fond of the Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway, which she has ridden three times.
"It's one of my favorites for the panoramic views of the Cascades," said Phillips. "You can see so many mountains from there."
"For recreational cyclists, it's a challenge, but not difficult," she said. "It's a wonderful all-year ride."
For more information, visit the OPRD's website at oregonscenicbikeways.org.