COTA celebrates expansion of 66 Trail System
The Crook County community will soon gain more miles of bike trails as expansion of the 66 Trail System continues on the southwest side of Prineville.
Prineville walkers, hikers and mountain bikers celebrated the newest trails when the 66 Trails on the south side of Highway 126 opened to the public following a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday afternoon.
The 66 Trail System, which straddles Highway 126, started as a small network of just three trails, totaling 2.5 miles of single track. The expanded 66 Trail System, which opened Tuesday, adds approximately 10 miles of trail with the addition of two trails designed for a wide variety of users.
Another portion of the 66 Trail System north of Highway 126 is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in late fall 2019 or early spring 2020.
"These new trails are a fantastic addition to Prineville's outdoor recreation opportunities, and we can't wait to see them used by the community, from families pushing strollers on a Sunday afternoon, to senior walking groups, to mountain bikers who want to ride from their home," said Amber Toomey, former Crook County chapter representative for COTA and current volunteer. "We're so grateful to everyone who helped make it a reality, from the Facebook Community Action Grants that kicked them off, to the support from the city, county, Parks and Recreation, and the Oregon State Parks. And of course, none of this would have been possible without all of our volunteers and their hours upon hours upon hours of trail building."
The expansion of the 66 Trail System benefitted from the support of Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), Facebook, Crook County, Judge Seth Crawford, Crook County Parks and Recreation, and the Oregon State Parks. To date, COTA has put more than 5,000 hours of volunteer work into the trail system.
The new Upper and Lower 66 Trails are designed with ease of use in mind. The first trail, which is one mile each way, is double-wide and follows a modest slope, to make it accessible for easy walking and cycling. The second gravel trail, which is 1.8 miles each way, is four feet across and is nearly flat, to make it ideal for an easy stroll for users of all ages as well as families with strollers. It will feature natural benches for resting along the way and new kiosks with maps at both the top and bottom of the trailhead are provided as well as picnic tables.
The newest additions to the trail system join the existing single-track trails, and were built with mountain bikers in mind and range in difficulty from green to black.
The next section of the 66 Trail System under development, on the north side of Highway 126, will include a five-mile, one-way, single-track trail following the rimrock cliff's rim and will provide mountain bikers with a technical, rocky, mostly flat ride, plus a wider trail that runs parallel to the single track for hikers and trail runners. Additionally, there will be two mountain bike skills pods.
When fully completed, the 66 Trail System will provide 20 miles of in-town trail access.
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