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Over objections, council approves Roxy Ann bike trail plan

A 34-mile trail system around Roxy Ann Peak took one step closer to reality when the Medford City Council approved a conceptual plan for Prescott Park despite objections from residents.

"We oppose the scale of this project," said Robert Mumby of the Rogue Valley Audubon Society. "Trails only a few feet apart would cut the mountain to ribbons."

Mumby said the council should modify the number and length of the trails.

Brian Sjothun, Medford Parks and Recreation director, said the trails would only affect 13 acres of the 1,740 in the park, less than 1 percent of the area.

He said existing trails, some of which would be abandoned, were built without consideration to slope and erosion. The new trails would take those possible issues into account, he said.

Jeffrey Tufts of Medford said the The International Mountain Bicycling Association of Boulder, Colo., which undertook the $8,000 study for the city, ignored one of the biggest issues — the clay soil.

He said exposing clay soils by removing vegetation would cause erosion problems. He said cyclists wouldn't like riding over clay soils.

Sjothun said the issue of clay soils, while not specifically addressed in the study, was a factor in the planning and design of the trail system.

He said the department has undertaken other projects in the city and clay soils are just a fact of life.

— Damian Mann