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New hiking path opens today

New hiking path opens today

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Amy’s Trail is now open to the public.

The new footpath, about a third of a mile long, provides a connection between Benton County’s Fitton Green Natural Area and a 172-acre parcel owned by the Crestmont Land Trust in the Coast Range foothills west of Corvallis.

Crestmont, founded by area property owner Ed Easterling, has a 3-mile trail network that is open to the public, but until now there was no easy way to access it. By linking those paths to the ones at Fitton Green, Amy’s Trail expands a west Corvallis trail system that now stretches all the way from the Benton County Fairgrounds to the Marys River near Wren.

The system encompasses 21 miles of trails that pass through 1,351 acres of protected green space that includes the Crestmont property, Fitton Green, the Greenbelt Land Trust’s Bald Hill Farm and the Bald Hill Natural Area, owned by the city of Corvallis.

The new trail, named for the late Wren resident Amy Schoener, is the result of a public-private partnership between Easterling, Benton County, the Corvallis Audubon Society and a number of other individuals and groups.

The Audubon Society provided $21,000 in funding toward the project, with most of the money coming from a bequest left by Schoener. Crestmont Land Trust and its employees contributed labor, and a number of contractors and vendors from around the area provided services and materials for free or at a discount.

About 40 people in rain parkas and boots gathered at the Crestmont property on Friday afternoon for a dedication ceremony and a rainy inaugural walk on the new route.

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Most of the attendees had played a role in getting the new trail built, and Easterling thanked them all for their efforts.

“It really was a community collaboration,” he said.

Bill Pearcy, who was married to Schoener until her death in 2016, expressed his appreciation for the new footpath.

“My dear wife, Amy, would have loved this trail,” he said. “All I can say is thank you so much for all the cooperation.”

And Benton County Commissioner Anne Schuster, who had brought hot apple cider to the event, raised her cup and offered a toast to her friend Schoener: “May you all live as full and fulfilling a life as she did.”

Amy’s Trail begins at a junction with the Fitton Green North-South Trail, in a small meadow fringed by towering oak trees. From there, the wide, well-graded gravel path winds downhill through a mixed forest of fir and oak, maple and alder, following the course of a small, fern-lined creek until it comes to an unpaved road that’s part of the Crestmont trail system.

At that point, users have a variety of options to choose from, with trails looping through wooded hillsides and open meadows that ultimately link up with a gated-off section of Cardwell Hill Drive, a county road that can also be used as a walking path.

After walking the new path on Friday, Corvallis Audubon Society President Bill Proebsting pronounced Amy’s Trail a fitting tribute to its namesake, who loved to hike in the hills near her home.

“She was deeply rooted out here, and I can’t think of anything more perfect than what you folks have built out here to honor and remember her,” he said.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.


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