By Craig Cleary, TORTA Team Member
TORTA, Tillamook Off Road Trail Alliance, was formed March 22, 2018, and gained non-profit status (501c3) soon after by merging with Pacific City Pathways. TORTA is a small group of passionate community members who see a very bright future for mountain biking in Tillamook County.
As avid recreationalists, we have come together to design and create a mountain bike trail system directly north of Pacific City in the Hebo District of the Siuslaw National Forest. Working directly with local land managers and foresters, TORTA is currently flagging over ten miles of trail corridors within the Sand Lake Restoration Project. As a group, we have been awarded a Travel Oregon grant to finance a master plan for this incredible opportunity of building a world class mountain bike trail network along this beautiful western slope of coastal forest.
We are currently working on Phase One of this plan, which will see the building of new trail and repurposing of retired forest service roads, totaling over 20 miles of non-motorized mountain bike purposed trails. During this period, we are working intently with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to gain all needed approvals, including conducting environmental, anthropological and habitat surveys. We look forward to a successful first phase and to expanding this trail system to not only this U.S. Forest district, but also with adjacent land managers and stakeholders, to create a multi-community trail system. Our goal is to work with the Forest Service and other land managers to allow access for people of all ages to enjoy this majestic forest on bicycles with sustainability, health and education being of primary concern.
TORTA has recently completed the construction of The Pacific City Pathway in Pacific City. This new trail serves as a great, family friendly hiking trail that provides an outstanding view of Haystack Rock at its summit and allows easy access to our local forest on BLM lands. While we prioritize mountain biking as our primary goal, we were all very excited to work on and finalize this brand new hiking trail to serve the residents and many visitors to Pacific City.
TORTA envisions a bright future for mountain biking in Tillamook County. We are surrounded by amazing topography, dense forests, incredible soils and awe-inspiring views. TORTA believes that mountain biking is the perfect piece of this puzzle to bring sustainable mountain bike recreation into this area. We see an underserved user group that will blossom with the addition of this recreation resource to our county. Both residents and visitors alike will be able to healthfully recreate year-round and help build community through this activity.
In the near future, mountain biking will allow visitors to disperse from existing destinations in Tillamook and allow them access into this beautiful forest which will in turn build relationships with full and part time residents and our natural world. TORTA sees an amazing future of off-road bicycling with phase one of this project being just the start to provide a world class trails system. We hope to work with many different land managers, including private, county, state and federal, to interconnect our local communities with the splendor of outdoor recreation, health, fitness and year-round Mountain Biking Stoke!
TORTA is a member of the Tillamook County Wellness coalition, serving on the Access to Physical Activity Committee.
For more information about TORTA and local mountain biking trails, follow Tillamook Off-Road Trails Alliance on Facebook, or go to www.tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org for more about Tillamook County Wellness.