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. Aquisition of the property, 2. Development of the trail, 3. On-going Maintenance. We are in the Aquisition stage of this long-term project.

Here are the facts that we know to date:

1. The abandoned right-of-way is currently owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, with the execption 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 and is working diligently to aquire the right-of-way to create the trail.
3. Once the sale takes place, Yamhill County will own the property and 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. The 17 mile railroad line from Gun Club Road to the Henry Hagg Lake junction is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and was abandoned for active rail transportation many years ago. Yamhill County will purchase the corridor from the UPRR, except for a few parcels that are now in private ownership. For these few parcels, the owners have agreed to allow trail access in various forms, such as by donation to the County or granting an easement. The boundaries of the entire corridor have been surveyed as part of the requirements for obtaining the ODOT acquisition funding. The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail is working to address any concerns identified by adjacent property owners.

Is this rail line being railbanked?
No. This is a purchase of the railroad corridor from a willing seller, the Union Pacific Railroad.

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.

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. (Alternately, it is worth noting, if a private investment firm were to buy this rail line, they would most likely charge you handsomely for a crossing.)

Will there be an increase in trespass, littering, vandalism, and other illegal activities?
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?
The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail are leading the planning and development of the trail. The Friends are actively working with Yamhill County, Washington County, City of Carlton, 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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