McKenzie “in the Middle”
By George A. Letchworth
MCKENZIE PASS: On Friday, May 17th, a video crew of Laura and Russ along with cycling “stars” Kristin and Jake filmed a “romantic” bicycle ride on the McKenzie Pass from Sisters to Belknap Hot Springs Lodge.
The video is the second one in a series sponsored by the Oregon Tourism Commission.
The first featured the Old West Scenic Bikeway. There are plans to video all of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways and use them to promote bicycle tourism in the state. Oregon is the first state to have designated Scenic Bikeways and is a leader in bicycle tourism. Learn about the bikeways at: http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/BIKE/Pages/index.aspx.
Hwy. 242, the Old McKenzie Pass, is one of nine designated Oregon Scenic Bikeways and there are two more scenic bikeways that are proposed. In March a proposal was written to have Aufderheide Drive, USFS Road 19 (connecting the McKenzie to Oakridge/Westfir) designated as an Oregon Scenic Bikeway.
On July 17th a four-person team from the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program will evaluate community support and the quality of the Aufderheide Drive bicycle ride. If Aufderheide is designated an Oregon Scenic Bikeway it will place the McKenzie in the middle of two spectacular bicycle rides.
Being in the middle offers the McKenzie community an opportunity to grow jobs, businesses and our local economy. The Tourism Committee of the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce visited Oakridge/Westfir on May 7th and met with the mayor and business leaders as well as touring lodging and visitor attractions. Oakridge/Westfir leaders will be visiting McKenzie area lodging and attractions in the next few weeks. The collaboration of the two communities on bicycle tourism should benefit both areas. Future plans involve collaborating with Bend, Sisters, Oakridge/Westfir and Cottage Grove since scenic bikeways or good cycling roads connect all of the communities.
The McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway and Aufderheide Drive are both great, challenging road rides but the Bicycling Committee of the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce is also working on local road cycling rides of 10 to 35 miles. The McKenzie River Trail is an outstanding mountain biking ride and other local mountain biking routes being developed. If you wish to be involved in either road cycling or Mt. biking tourism contact George at 541-822-3744.
McKenzie River Reflections