Roxy Ann Peak is as unique a City Park as you’ll find most anywhere. The round topped butte above Foothills Road in East Medford is a 1740 acre expanse that is all City Park, and is used currently by hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers, climbers, and horseback riders on trails that date back to the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s.
That is about to change in a big way, as the Medford City Council on Thursday voted to approve a conceptual plan that will eventually construct 34 miles of new hiking, biking, and riding trails. The plan calls for some trails to be specific use, others to be multi-use, and the project would evolve over three phases, with phase one constructing the first 10 plus miles of trail with a loop about the base of the mountain, providing the connection to the future phases. A trail head and restroom are also planned for phase one.
Several Medford residents spoke in opposition to the project, with concerns over the number of trails and mileage, and the state of the current trails that become impassable from poor soils. Medford Parks and Recreation Director Brian Sjothun countered that a study by the International Mountain Biking Association did account for all aspects of the trail plan, and that the entire trail system, when complete, would take up only 13 of the 1740 acres of the park, or less than one percent.
Thursday evening the Medford Parks Foundation, at its regular monthly meeting, met with representatives of the Rogue Valley Mountain Biking association to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to create a restricted fund account with the Foundation where funds raised locally and through grants will be held until released when phase one is ready to begin construction. The first activity of phase one construction is expected to take place later this summer.
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