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Businesses and community help Bear Creek Greenway

Range of partnerships has helped fund Oregon trail organization projects.

From the Summer 2000 issue of Trail Tracks, the national newsletter of American Trails

Map of Oregon Founded in 1986, the non-profit Bear Creek Greenway Foundation has developed an extraordinary network of partnerships to help achieve the goals of:
  • completing an 18-mile trail connecting five cities So. Oregon, and
  • broadening community involvement in protecting and restoring the creek corridor.
crab feast graphic
A Bear Creek Greenway fundraiser

The five cities along Bear Creek (Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point), plus Jackson County and Oregon Dept. of Transportation, have worked together for more than twenty years to protect the creek corridor and build a trail system through the core of a rapidly growing urban area.

Local businesses, service clubs and health agencies have generously supported the Greenway program over the years. Examples of consistent community support include: Asante Health System, So. Oregon Subaru/Volvo/Mitsubishi, bicycle and outdoor shops, book stores, Densmore Insurance, law firms, medical doctors, restaurants, Wild Birds Unlimited, So. Oregon Rare Plant Nursery, golf courses, Northwest Nature Shop, Raven Maps, wineries, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Britt Music Festival, Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Lithia Motors, banks, galleries, Kosmatka-Donnelly and other accountants, Rotary/Kiwanis/Soroptomist Clubs, Harry & David, and more.

With the help of Pacific Power, Central Point Rotary, Jewett Elementary, Crater High School, City of Central Point, Central Point Chamber of Commerce, local contractors and other businesses, a trail head improvement project is under way. Business and civic organizations are providing funds and guidance for students to prepare a formal landscape design, install an irrigation system, and plant native species at the trail terminus near their town. Not only will the project be an esthetic improvement, but it will create shade for the stream and diversify habitats.

In 1997 after the Greenway Foundation raised money for materials and Jackson County supplied vehicles and storage, OBEC Consulting Engineers provided construction supervision as the Seabees built an elaborate and essential bridge near Ashland. The Greenway program has also received financial support from three charitable foundations: the Meyer Memorial Trust, Carpenter Foundation and Cheney Foundation.

Two annual events engender considerable community participation and raise funds for the Greenway. The Greenway Gala offers auction items, dinner and dancing for about 200 people each year. The Classic offers a 13-mile bike course, a 10k run, and a two-mile walking even. Participants include the mayors of all five cities on Bear Creek in the Mayor's Cup.

Since 1995 the Greenway Foundation has conducted a "yard sale" inviting individuals, businesses, and families to purchase a symbolic yard of the trail for $40 per yard. With the construction of each trail segment, all donors are acknowledged on permanent trail head signs. Since 1986 Greenway Foundation formed in 1986 to bolster local government efforts to complete the Greenway system. From that time until the present, the volunteers of the Foundation have raised over $500,000 in private contributions for the program.

At present, the Greenway Foundation has nearly 300 citizen and business members; and 600 people made gifts to the Foundation in 1999.

Why is the Greenway Important?

Bear Creek Greenway Trail benefits our valley's quality of life Where segments of the Greenway trail have been completed, we have a sampling of what the Bear Creek Greenway can mean to our valley. In the not-so-distant future we can anticipate these benefits:

  • The Greenway trail will be a paved, year-round alternative transportation route for bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • The Greenway trail will be a place that is close to home, where families can be together in the outdoors without a trip in an auotmobile.
  • The Greenway trail will allow families, individuals, and school classes access to places to observe wildlife.
  • The Greenway trail will be part of a green ribbon of land through our urbanizing valley.
  • The Greenway trail will provide access to Bear Creek, its tributaries, ponds, and wetlands.
  • The Greenway trail will provide more alternative access to parks and other destinations along the Greenway.
  • The Greenway trail will connect the communities along Bear Creek from Ashland to Central Point.

For more information visit the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation website

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