A Southern Oregon cycling route has been recommended for designation as a state Scenic Bikeway. The Cascade-Siskiyou Lakes Loop has been nominated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission's scenic bikeways committee.
Jenna Stanke, Jackson County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program manager, said in a press release the recommendation is significant because fewer than half of the mileage of the proposed routes receive that backing.
The route begins in Ashland, climbs the Greensprings on state Highway 66 and makes an optional side trip to Tub Springs State Park, then travels past Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie Lake, descends down Dead Indian Memorial Road and back to Ashland.
The Cascades-Siskiyou Lakes Loop is one of four routes recently approved to move forward. If the route is given official approval from the state Parks Commission, it will join the 11 already designated routes in the state.
Jackson County Parks and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce are the applicants and are working with other groups, including the city of Ashland, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Land Management, state parks and Siskiyou Velo, a local cycling club. The group will develop a plan to present to the Parks Commission.
The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program, the first of its kind in the country, identifies the "best of the best" bicycle routes in the state and helps promote the designated routes through Travel Oregon, the state's tourism agency. It also provides signs to help direct people along the route.
Stanke noted that the designation does not mean a separate path or bike lanes will be built.
According to the press release, a study recently completed by Dean Runyan Associates for Travel Oregon showed that bicycle tourism brings more than $400 million annually to the state and nearly $40 million to Southern Oregon.