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. 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. 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. In addition, a farm impact study is being conducted by Yamhill County, which will be used to address any identified issues. One possible solution for activities such as aerial spraying of herbicides and pesticides on adjacent farmland is for farmers to contact a responsible official, who will then post signs on the trail and trailheads letting trail users know of the spraying and suggesting that recreationists not use that particular section of trail during that time period. Dozens and 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 my driveway crosses the trail or I cross the rail line with my farming equipment?
Any existing easements/agreements across the trail will be honored and maintained as such. If you are currently crossing the trail and don’t have an easement/agreement, it is important to know that you are doing so illegally. If an investment firm were to buy this rail line, they would most likely charge you handsomely for crossing rights. However, the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail will accommodate those easements/agreements to ensure that you are able to continue to access your property. We will not charge you for crossing and will work with you to develop and maintain an at-grade crossing so that you can cross the trail safely.

Will there be an increase in trespass, littering, vandalism, and other illegal activities?
No. 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 be transformed from a place that is overgrown, unkempt and rife with litter to an amenity for the area that showcases the natural beauty and heritage of the region.

What about emergency services and fire response?
A nice benefit from developing a rail trail is that emergency services actually have better access to the rail 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 master planning process. Monies for construction will most likely come through state, federal and private funding sources (grants). The Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail has committed to maintenance long-term. One of the options being considered could be the creation of a public/private partnership, where Yamhill County would contribute internal resources, much like other county parks, and additional annual maintenance fees would be raised by the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, a 501c3 non-profit.

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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