Bend Urban Trails Plan

Bend Urban Trails Plan

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Urban Trail Map (download pdf)

Deschutes River Trail Map (download pdf)

What do the existing “primary trails” in Bend have in common?  They are all part of the Bend Urban Area Primary Trail System Plan, jointly developed and managed by the Bend Metro Park & Recreation District and the City of Bend. Extensive trail systems like Bend’s don’t happen on their own or overnight. Comprehensive planning, with strong public involvement, has been essential to the district’s successful trails program. The support of the public agencies and their leadership has ensured that planned-for trails are built as the community grows.

In June 1995, the Bend Urban Trails Plan was published. This plan inventoried 44 miles of trail opportunities within the Urban Growth Boundary. The Plan called for an integrated system of trails connecting Bend neighborhoods to parks, schools and other major destinations. In the study, 36 miles were identified as “primary trails” and 8 miles were classified as “secondary” or “neighborhood connector” routes. In 1995 only 18.5 miles of proposed trail system were in public ownership and the remainder, many miles undeveloped, were on private lands or not secured for public use. Since 1995, the district, City and private citizens have worked hard to secure and develop many of the sections of trail identified in the plan and approximately 35 miles have been completed to date.

The 1999 Bend Riverway study identified a community vision for trails both along the banks of the Deschutes River and on the water. In September 2002, both the district and the City adopted the Deschutes River Trail Action Plan, developed to guide implementation of the Bend Riverway trail vision. Making progress in trail acquisition and development is high on the district’s list of priorities.

In 2002, the Park & Recreation District signed joint use agreements with the Central Oregon and Tumalo Irrigation Districts that allow for public access to the canal ditch roads identified as primary routes in the trail plan. In January 2003 the Park & Recreation District revised its Park SDC methodology to allow for the funding of new trail development. In 2004, a trails agreement was signed with the Bureau of Reclamation that opened the door for public use of some of the ditch roads along the North Unit Canal.

While the vision for the Bend trail system is not yet fully realized, much progress has been made in the development of both the public and private trails since 1995. Many planned public trail links have been acquired and built by land developers through the City of Bend subdivision process. Major trail projects are included each year in the district’s Capital Improvement Program as well.  Improvements to the Larkspur Trail and the South Canyon Trail Bridge project were completed in 2005 while the Mirror Pond – Newport Avenue Bridge river trail link is currently in the planning and design phase. The 2005 BMPRD Park, Recreation and Green Spaces Comprehensive Plan inventoried 48 miles of currently existing trails and park pathways. The Comprehensive Plan will be amended to include a district-wide trails master planning effort set to take place in 2006.