The new Old Mill Trail, a 4,100 foot hiking and biking trail connected to more than 5 miles of existing hiking trails and five Lebanese city parks, opens on Wednesday.
The Old Mill Trail is 3.1 m wide and paved and leads from Gill’s Landing to Riverview Park, with LED lighting, benches and dog exercise stations. Kiosks with a local history will also be installed.
On Wednesday, November 17th, at 11 a.m., a ribbon will be cut in the Recognition Plaza at 11 a.m., during which the large donors will be honored with stones bearing their names.
Rodney Sell, founder of the nonprofit Build Lebanon Trails, said the Old Mill Trail has many benefits, most notably its connection to other trails and parks that offer miles of uninterrupted recreational space. There is only one intersection in the entire network of trails.
“All neighborhoods in the city will have easy access to this wonderful system of footpaths that run along the South Santiam River and the Cheadle Lake system,” said Sell. “It’s a place for everyone to exercise, but it also helps with mental health to get out and enjoy it all – for free.”
Volunteers from the non-profit Build Lebanon Trails were key to the project’s success. They cleared rubbish, cut ivy and blackberries, tore down stones, and guarded fresh concrete while it dried. Although the city of Lebanon was involved in some early design and surveying work, The Old Mill Trail was paid for with donations and grants.
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The work of the volunteers will continue even after the project is completed, watering the trees and removing invasive plants for the next several years. Even more grass and trees will be planted over the next few months.
The concrete path follows the river for nearly a mile along the top of a levee built after the Lebanon flood in the early 1930s. Lumber mills were added but eventually closed, and the area has been essentially a wasteland of weeds and rubble since the 1990s.
Even before it is officially open to the public, many people in the community have already discovered the new path. Strollers, runners, cyclists and people with dogs cavort on the Old Mill Trail every day, enjoying the view and the wildlife and taking on the newly improved Eagle Scout Trail.
Founded in 1994 by Thor Deacon as an Eagle Scout Project, the trail begins at Gill’s Landing and runs through the forest along the river. Build Lebanon Trails volunteers widened the trail, adding fine gravel, and extending it all the way to Riverview Park. Hikers can take a loop on the Eagle Scout and Old Mill trails, although the trail can occur during high water in winter.
Cody Mann covers the cities of Albany and Lebanon. He can be contacted at 541-812-6113 or [email protected]
“All neighborhoods in the city will have easy access to this wonderful system of trails that run along the South Santiam River and the Cheadle Lake system.” Rodney Sell, Build Lebanon Trails