EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – Skinner Butte is one of the top destinations for drivers in the Eugene / Springfield area to catch a beautiful view of the city of the metro area, but not so much for walkers. However, a new project from the city of Eugene Parks and Open Space is now aiming to get more walkers climbing the city's glorious butte.
Contractors are now in the process of building a new trailhead next to Riverplay Park at the base of Skinner Butte.
The Skinner Butte trail system has been around for at least fifty years, but park officials say no one really uses it because they don't know it exists.
Hoping to help get more people to use the trail system, Eugene Parks and Open Space is now building the new trailhead with an improved entry point to the existing trail system which leads to the top of the butte.
The trailhead is located right by the corner of Cheshire Street and Skinner Butte Loop, directly across from the Riverplay parking lot entrance.
The new trailhead will include signage with a description of the path and a map, also a new series of steps and a short new pathway leading in to the system. Several areas along the pathway have been improved as well to make them easier and safer to walk on.
Project managers say with the little amount of money that Eugene Parks and Open Space has to spend amidst the tough economic times, these are the kinds of project's they're focusing on.
“Finding projects where we can really maximize existing systems and make them work better is a really high priority for us, so by connecting the butte to the playground, we really have a chance to open up a whole new opportunity for citizens to use the Butte,” says Jesse Cary-Hobbs, a project manager for Eugene Parks & Open Space.
Cary-Hobbs says ideally, the trailhead will get more kids and families enjoying the idea of exploration and Eugene's natural park space.
“We really want to help reconnect kids with nature and that's what this project is really all about,” says Cary-Hobbs.
In all, the project is costing Eugene Parks and Open Space $30,000. The money comes from parks designated “capital improvement” funds.
The new trailhead should be open in mid-July 2012. In the future, the city has a plan to create a new crosswalk from the Riverplay area to the trailhead.