ashland.news
July 21, 2024

Volunteers build new Ashland-area trail that helps solve old problem

The new section of the Alice in Wonderland trail in Ashland connects to an old section of the trail below the White Rabbit trailhead. Rogue Valley Times photo by Andy Atkinson
June 14, 2023

Trail now skirts private property instead of crossing through its center

By Shaun Hall, Rogue Valley Times

The blue line shows the route of a new trail dubbed the Pedestrian Alice Re-Route, an offshoot of the popular Alice in Wonderland hiking-biking trail in the hills south of Ashland. Ashland Woodlands & Trails Association

Volunteers have helped construct a new hiking trail that reroutes foot traffic off of a portion of the popular Alice in Wonderland Trail in the hills south of Ashland.

The new trail and a planned new bicycling trail roughly paralleling it are part of an effort to shift all bike and pedestrian traffic from the old trail to the new trails, so that trail users cross only public land or cross private land with an easement allowing a trail.

The new trail also is in response to landowners who want any trails to skirt the edges of their properties rather than the center of them.

The trail building followed the city’s purchase this spring of a 20-acre property that is crossed by the Alice in Wonderland Trail. Until the city bought the property, the owner of the land could have shut down trail access.

“The purchase of the property will ensure that an Alice in Wonderland Trail connection remains open and free to use for the public,” Michael Black, Ashland’s Parks & Recreation director, wrote in a memo to members of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission in April.

The new section of the Alice in Wonderland trail in Ashland is designed for foot traffic only. Rogue Valley Times photo by Andy Atkinson

The 20-acre property, which is vacant, cost $150,000. The new trail now branches off from the main trail there. The Alice in Wonderland Trail, which has been in use for decades, is a former road used to reach a mine.

The new trail, which has been dubbed the Pedestrian Alice Re-Route, is about a third of a mile long and is located about a mile southeast of Lithia Park.

Volunteers with the Ashland Woodlands & Trails Association, the Rogue Valley Runners and others helped build the new trail. Late spring rain helped make conditions ripe for trail building, according to Torsten Heycke, president of the association.

The new section of the Alice in Wonderland trail in Ashland is designed for foot traffic only. Rogue Valley Times photo by Andy Atkinson

“You need good moist soil to shape our granitic soil,” he said Friday. “We knocked that out in about five days.”

For years, Heycke sought the purchase of the 20-acre property, but the owner declined to sell or provide an easement. Finally, when Heycke called this year, the owner was ready to sell.

In a related matter, the city is interested in possibly purchasing other properties to keep trails open, according to Heycke, who said that private landowners have cut off access to portions of the Talent Irrigation Ditch Trail.

City officials, he said, have “got their antennae up for opportunities.”

Near the location of the recent trail work, unrelated logging has taken place on private property, but trails are open. Bikers may use the old trail as before, until the new bike route is built, possibly during the next rainy season, according to Heycke.

Reach Rogue Valley Times outdoors and environmental reporter Shaun Hall at 458-225-7179 or shall@rv-times.com. This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

If you go
The new Alice in Wonderland pedestrian reroute trail can be reached from the White Rabbit Trailhead. To get to the trailhead from Ashland, take Morton Street south from Siskiyou Boulevard and follow it up to the top of the hill. Then turn left onto Ashland Loop Road and go a little over one mile on the rough unsurfaced road to the trailhead parking area on the left.
From the trailhead, hike the Alice in Wonderland Trail north toward town about a third of a mile to the new pedestrian trail, which then connects with the Gryphon Trail about another third of a mile farther north. From south to north, the trail crosses property belonging to the U.S. Forest Service, the city of Ashland and private property with an easement, before crossing again onto city property where the new trail meets the Gryphon Trail.
For a map of area trails, go to ashlandchamber.com/files/2019AshlandMapGuideOnline.pdf.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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