By Chas Hundley and Olivia Johnson
MANNING – Several Oregon state agencies have teamed up to refurbish and expand access to the Manning Trailhead on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. The project is expected to nearly triple the capacity for vehicles at the busy access point for the trail, which is also where the in-development Salmonberry Trail could potentially begin.
With funds from the Washington County Visitor’s Association, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and Travel Oregon, the project is poised to be unveiled at a grand opening celebration on Friday, June 14 at 2 p.m.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will feature a free seven-mile round trip guided bicycle ride to and from L. L. Stub Stewart State Park, which is billed as a family-friendly event for people of all abilities.
Riders will ride a mostly flat segment of trail, passing over the Buxton Trestle, a repurposed bridge that hearkens back to the Banks-Vernonia State Trail’s heritage as a railroad.
Afterwards, riders are invited to continue celebrations at Hop Cycle Brewing, located at 13965 NW Main Street in Banks.
According to a press release from the Salmonberry Trail Foundation, improvements to the trailhead include a permanent restroom facility, safety features in the parking lot, and expanded parking for trail users.
According to the Salmonberry Trail Foundation, the completed Salmonberry Trail project will “link Washington and Tillamook counties, providing Oregonians and visitors with an accessible, scenic way to enjoy non-motorized, outdoor recreation between the Portland Metro area and the Oregon Coast.”
According to Alana Kambury, Executive Director for the Salmonberry Trail Foundation, the Manning project was made possible by a collaborative approach from the Salmonberry Trail Foundation, Washington County and the Washington County Visitors Association, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Travel Oregon and the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust.
Prior to its acquisition by Washington County, who sold the site to the state of Oregon in 2013, the site of the newly expanded trailhead was a troubled property that was host to numerous county code violations, with a previous owner racking up thousands of dollars in civil violation fines for abandoned vehicles and leaving the property unsecured. It was also a meth lab at some point, according to Washington County records and Dennis Wiley, Salmonberry Trail project manager with OPRD.
The Manning Trailhead is located on NW Pihl Road and NW Sell Road near Highway 26.