LEBANON — On the second Saturday of each month, Build Lebanon Trails hosts an activity designed to encourage people to experience some of the trails that have been built in the community over the past decade.
Dogs are almost always invited to attend with their human companions, but this weekend’s event was designed specifically with the canines in mind.
On Saturday morning, Build Lebanon Trails hosted Paws on the Pavement, a hike around the Marks Slough Loop Trail. Eight different challenges were set up for dogs to enjoy along the walk, and water and treats were provided.
Diane Kaldahl brought Mist, an Australian shepherd, and Kaye Tanner brought Bernie, a Rottweiler.
“We especially came to this one because the other dogs were here,” Tanner said.
John Brown and Duke, a German wirehaired pointer, joined the activity entirely by accident.
Brown and Duke walk this trail regularly and were out for their usual Saturday morning trek when they realized an organized event was under way.
Brown, a longtime Lebanon resident and a member of the city’s planning commission, said the trail work has been a great addition to the community.
“It’s a great deal, especially in the winter when it’s muddy everywhere,” Brown said. “A lot of people use it.”
Jessica Ruef organized Paws on the Pavement.
“We’ve been trying to make our monthly walks more of an event,” Ruef said.
In addition to the challenges on the loop, the group also invited the SafeHaven Humane Society to set up an informational tent at the trailhead. Volunteers Donald and Connie Groves talked about pet adoption and the new thrift shop SafeHaven has launched in downtown Lebanon.
Before the walk began, Rod Sell of Build Lebanon Trails shared some basic information about the organization’s history and goals, and the history of this loop in particular.
Build Lebanon Trails was created in 2005, Sell said. The organization works in conjunction with the City of Lebanon and the work is coordinated with the city’s development plan.
The ultimate goal is create 50 miles of paved, fully-accessible trails within the city.
So far, about 15 miles of paved trails have been built. There are also several soft-surface trails, with more of these to be created as well, Sell said.
On the north side of the community, the Mark Slough Loop Trail already ties in with the Northside Community Trail, which circles around the medical school campus and the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home.
Sell said local businesses and property owners have been great partners with the project. He said that early work on the Marks Slough Loop Trail was assisted by Rich Franklin, who owns property along the trail.
“Getting right-of-way so far has not been as big an issue as we thought it might be,” Sell said.
The next scheduled public event is a hike of McDowell Creek Falls on Sept. 8.