It's an exciting time for Rogue Valley mountain bikers. The city of Medford's plan for Prescott Park on Roxy Ann Peak has us pumped. It may seem far off, but there is something all Southern Oregonians can do over the next few weeks to help make the project a reality.
Prescott Park is a finalist for the 2014 Bell Built Grant, a total of $100,000 in grants that will go to three mountain bike trail-building projects across the country.
In Medford, the money would fund a specially contoured "flow" trail that would descend 1,600 vertical feet through Prescott Park. The trail will be built with bikes in mind. It will be a rolling trail, featuring sloped berms and reinforced sections to ensure its durability. Here is an opportunity to make the best mountain bike trail in the valley and perhaps the region.
All you need to do is vote for it.
This is the new millenium, people. The winners of the grant will be determined by online vote. Get your index fingers primed and ready, because voting begins Monday, April 7, and runs through April 20. Prescott Park is competing with two California projects to secure funding, so it's vital that we get the word out here.
Non-bikers should not ignore this opportunity, either. These trails will benefit everyone. The biker traffic on less-suitable and less-maintained trails throughout the valley will be reduced. This will benefit hikers and equestrians who prefer the more remote trails. Medford cyclists will opt to ride to Prescott Park, rather than drive to other destinations in the valley, reducing car traffic, as well.
Roxy Ann Peak is a great place to get above the inversion layer and breath fresh air during the foggy days here in Medford, as I discovered in November. In fact, it's the perfect winter destination.
Another great thing about these trails is that they will be available almost all year long. In the winter, snow blocks local bikers from accessing many of their favorite trails in Jacksonville, Ashland and the Applegate. But Roxy Ann Peak is usually below the snow line. Cyclists in Bend, a mountain biking mecca, have nowhere to ride for several months during the harsh high-desert winter. Medford could become their destination.
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association holds races year-round, but there are very few in the winter months. Prescott Park, with its moderate weather and moderate elevation, could help change that.
In its January report on the Prescott Park plan, Medford Parks & Recreation said the first phase of the plan will cost about $200,000. The department says it has $100,000 to spend on it. Winning the Bell Built Grant will put us that much closer to breaking ground.
The power is in our hands. Let's help make Medford a mountain-biking destination.
Vote starting Monday at bellhelmets.com/bellbuilt.
Check out the city's conceptual plan at goo.gl/J5nc8b.
Mail Tribune copy editor Forrest Roth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.