Seventeen Miles in the heart of Oregon Wine Country

Yamhelas Westsider Trail Map

Questions?

The Yamhelas Westsider Trail has wide-spread support from the local communities it directly impacts, from Yamhill County and from the State of Oregon. Like all trails, our project will undergo three main phases: 1. Acquisition of the property, 2. Development of the trail, 3. On-going Maintenance. Nearly the entire available right-of-way within Yamhill County was acquired by the county in November 2017 and we are now entering phase 2.

Here are the facts that we know to date:

1. Approximately 12 miles of the abandoned right-of-way is currently owned by Yamhill County, with the exception of two individual property owners; one in Carlton and one in Gaston.
2. Yamhill County has included the Yamhelas Westsider Trail in their Master Transportation Plan.
3. Yamhill County will will be responsible for maintenance and improvements.
4. The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail will support the county's efforts by supplying volunteers and financial support. As a 501 (c) 3, we can apply for grants for which the county may not be eligible.

If you'd like to learn more about other trails in Oregon please visit these websites.

  Rails to Trails Conservancy
  Rails to Trails - Banks Vernonia State Trail
  Oregon State Parks
  Ride Oregon
  Oregon Equestrian Trails
  Metro Regional Trails and Greenway System
  The Intertwine
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will private property rights be infringed upon?
No. Yamhill County purchased the corridor between Gun Club Road and the northern County line in November 2017 directly from the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). Before that, most of the the rail line was owned by the UPRR in-fee, and formally abandoned from its use for active rail transportation in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The boundaries of this corridor have been surveyed as was required by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) acquisition grant funding. There are a few areas in which the proposed trail will cross private property; however, in all of these instances the property owners have agreed to allow access in various forms or another option is present (i.e. donation, easements through their property, etc.) The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail are committed to working with all adjacent property owners to mitigate any impacts caused by trail development and use. All concerns of adjacent property owners will be addressed as each issue is identified.

Will the development of the trail effect my farming practices?
No. Many trails just like this one have been developed adjacent to working farms with no adverse effects either to trail users or to the farmers' ability to manage their farms. The plan for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail will address agriculture uses. One anticipated solution for aerial spraying of herbicides and pesticides is for farmers to inform a trail manager who will then post signs on the trail and at trailheads letting trail users know of the planned spraying. Dozens of trails just like this one, including the nearby Banks-Vernonia Trail, have been developed adjacent to and through existing farms with no adverse effects on the farmers ability to perform the actions needed to successfully run their business.

What if I must cross the trail to access my property?
All current easements across the UPRR right-of-way will be honored and maintained as part of the trail design. If you are currently crossing the UPRR right-of-way and don’t have an easement/agreement, it is important to know that you have no legal right to your crossing. However, the trail planning team wants to work with you to develop a legally recognized crossing so that you can cross the trail safely for continued access to your property.

Will there be an increase in trespass, littering, vandalism, and other illegal activities?
Unlikely. Actually, the vast majority of trails have experienced a decrease in unwanted activities such as those listed above. The reason is that people tend to perform illegal activities in places where there are no reputable citizens frequenting the area. In trail after trail, people have seen the rail corridor transformed from a place that is unkempt and rife with litter to one that becomes an amenity for the area that showcases its natural beauty and heritage. The trail will be managed by the County and be subject to the rules and regulations approved by the County Commissioners.

How will the trail manage and enhance public safety?
At present, State Highway 47 is not a safe route for pedestrians and bicyclists. The trail will provide a safer transportation corridor along the same general route. This will be especially important between the cities of Carlton and Yamhill, which share the same school facilities. Also, it will be necessary for the trail to cross some paved and unpaved roads, and this situation will be no different than all of the other rail to trails in the country that are being used safely. Appropriate trail design at these crossings, along with the placement of appropriate signs and other markers, will be adequate to insure that motorists and trail users use appropriate caution at these crossings.

What about emergency services and fire response?
A nice benefit from developing a multi-use recreational trail is that emergency services actually have better access to the corridor than they ever have had. The trail has a nice flat and wide surface so that a police car, fire truck, or ambulance can drive right down the corridor with ease. This allows for faster response times and increased protection for residents along the corridor.

Who will construct and maintain the trail?
Options for construction and maintenance will be analyzed in the trail planning process. One of these is the creation of a public/private partnership. Monies for construction will most likely come through state, federal and private funding sources (grants). Yamhill County will contribute internal resources to the maintenance of the trail, just like other county properties, and additional maintenance needs will be addressed with funds raised by the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Who is involved in the planning of the project?
Now that the rail corridor is owned by Yamhill County, the County is in charge of planning for development. A conceptual plan has been completed*, and a master plan for development will follow in the near future. The Friends of the Yamehlas Westsider Trail are directly involved in this planning, working with Yamhill County Parks, Washington County, the City of Carlton, the City of Yamhill, and other stakeholders.

*The Friends and Yamhill County received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (www.nps.gov/rtca) that helped the Friends conduct a public survey and go through an initial public collaborative planning process to better understand the desires and concerns of the community. In November 2015, the Friends hosted a group of landscape architects from the American Society of Landscape Architects to work with stakeholders to draw up initial conceptual plans. The Friends have also hosted several public meetings for the purposes of informing the public and taking public input.

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