Tribal concerns have led The Dalles officials to scrap plans for the final leg of the Riverfront Trail that would have extended north of the freeway from the Marina parking lot to link up with a segment at Lone Pine.
Nolan Young, city manager, said the project will be reconfigured to address cultural and archeological concerns raised by tribal leaders about the 1.4 mile stretch of trail.
He said all of the tribes with a presence in the Columbia River Gorge expressed concern about the plan to have the trail pass beneath the freeway overpass and through a natural area of Riverfront Park.
“They were concerned about anything that created more traffic in an area that has been culturally important to them for centuries,” said Young.
He said the Riverfront Trail nonprofit board will help the city identify other potential routes to complete the 10-mile trail. The western start of the pathway is the Discovery Center and, in 2012, The Dalles was awarded about $1.7 million by the Federal Highway Administration to complete the portion of the trial along the southern bank of the Columbia River to The Dalles Dam.
Young said the remaining balance of that grant, about $1.3 million, will be used to find another way to extend the trail beyond the Marina, if possible, or for an alternative bike trail project.
‘We are going to be looking at all of the available options to decide which way to go next,” he said.
He said the FHA and Oregon Department of Transportation remain committed to helping The Dalles develop safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities to serve all areas of the community.