Friday, May 27, 2016

The Columbia River Gorge Express Starts Today!


The Columbia River Gorge Express starts it's route today! There is now a way to connect Portland to the beautiful gorge. The hopes of this project is to reduce congestion in the parking lot of the Multnomah Falls trail head.
The Oregon Department of Transportation and the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the falls, are hoping to alleviate some of that pain with a brand new bus service that will connect Portland with the Columbia River Gorge.
The shuttle bus, dubbed the Columbia River Gorge Express, officially begins service this Friday, May 27, running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Sept. 25. The bus will run 12 times daily between the Gateway Transit Center in northeast Portland and the Multnomah Falls visitor center, with one stop at Rooster Rock State Park on the way.
The bus ride is expected to take about 35 minutes each way, and will cost $5 for a round-trip ticket. Riders who board at Rooster Rock can ride to Multnomah Falls for free, and can even park at the state park free of charge.
Each of the three shuttle buses on the express route can carry up to 20 passengers, with racks that can fit three bicycles.


"The Gorge is home to some of our most beloved outdoor attractions," Rian Windsheimer, Oregon Department of Transportation manager for the Portland area, said in a press release. "Adding this transit service is intended to help ease congestion, improve safety, relieve the parking crunch and make these areas accessible to more Oregonians."
The bus service will be a two-year pilot program, attempting to alleviate some of the congestion at Multnomah Falls which often backs up onto the left lane of Interstate 84. The parking lot at the falls closed 181 times due to overcrowding over the last 22 months, according to the department. Of those, 129 closures came on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service are also in support of the bus service, but remain cautiously optimistic about its effects on the Multnomah Falls congestion, acknowledging the potential for unintended consequences. 
Seeking a resolution, officials conducted a survey this past January, gauging interest in public transit. More than 70 percent of respondents said they would consider public transportation or shuttle buses to the Gorge.
"I'm not sure how much it will actually reduce the number of cars on the historic highway – it may actually add more people to the site," said Stan Hinatsu, recreation staff officer for the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. "But we do really think it is a good start to solving the congestion."
Learn more about the service at: columbiagorgeexpress.com/

SRC: www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2016/05/new_bus_service_links_portland.html

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Upper Mccord Falls Hike

Upper Mccord Falls is the perfect hike for you and your family. This out and back type hike is only 2.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 600 feet and is totally family friendly.
This hike begins at the same location as the Nesmith Point and Elowah hikes. Follow trail #400 along an abandoned road and up a steep incline, where you will come across a junction. Bear right and follow the trail uphill toward McCord Creek Falls. After a few switchbacks, the view will open up to great vistas of the Gorge and Mt. Adams. The trail is cut into the wall and has railings for safety. You will see Elowah Falls from the top, just before entering the forest and coming to McCord Creek Falls. This is a remarkable double falls and well worth the trip. Note that sometimes on dry summer days, only one falls may be flowing. 
  
Combine this hike with a side trip to Elowah Falls for a combined hike of 4 miles gaining 600-ft elevation.
SRC: gorgefriends.org/hike-the-gorge/upper-mccord-creek-falls.html

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Horsetail Falls Trail Loop

A great easy hike perfect for families is the Horsetail Falls Loop. 3 waterfalls, one of them you get to walk behind it's a great place to bring the kids to help burn off some energy and get some great pictures!
Horsetail Falls Loop
Western Gorge, Oregon
This loop takes you past three falls and can be accessed either by the Horsetail Falls Trailhead (from which Horsetail Falls is easily visible and accessible) or the Oneonta Gorge Trailhead (just west of Horsetail Falls Trailhead). The hiking directions below start from Oneonta Gorge Trailhead.
From the Oneonta Trailhead, find and follow Gorge Trail #400 (this section of trail #400 is the Historic Columbia River Highway) to the junction with the Horsetail Falls Trail #438. This will lead you first to Ponytail Falls, which you can walk behind. The trail will next take you upward with switchbacks for ~0.5 miles until you reach a bridge over Oneonta Gorge. Oneonta Falls is visible from the bridge, looking downstream. Continuing on, you will reach the junction with Trail #424. To add an extra waterfall to the trip, turn left and hike ~0.9 miles to Triple Falls. To complete the loop, turn right from Trail #438 onto Trail #424. This will lead you back to Oneonta Trailhead where you started.
Find more information on this trail at: trails.gorgefriends.org/trail/horsetail-falls-loop/

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016


The 10th annual Gorge Ride is just around the corner! Enjoy the beautiful views as you ride along the historic highway along The Gorge.
The tenth annual Gorge Ride sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway (FHCRH) will be held Saturday, June 18, 2016, beginning at the Gorge Discovery Center. The ride extends 19.25 miles along the historic highway and state trail west to the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead, just east of Hood River, and then returns. The course opens at 7am, and closes at 4pm.
Registration area closes at 10 AM
Lunches may be picked up: 11 AM until 4 PM
Sack lunch from Basalt Rock Café at the Gorge Discovery Center available for purchase during online registration for $14.
Hi-tech Male & Female version souvenir t-shirts may be ordered for $25/each ‘til 11:59 PM 6/8/2016.
The route is a combination of historic highway open to motor vehicles (with very low traffic) and the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail (open only to pedestrian and bicyclists). The out and back route is a total of 38.5 miles.
The ride is fully supported with water stops, snacks, mechanical support, and SAG wagons. Maps with cue sheets and an elevation chart are provided. A sack lunch from the Basalt Rock Café, within the Gorge Discovery Center, will be available for purchase during on-line registration. T-shirts featuring a Gorge Ride graphic will also be available for purchase during on-line registration only.
Packet pickup will be at the Gorge Discovery Center on June 18 from 7 AM to 10 AM. Course opens at 7 AM and closes at 4 PM. Participants will be required to sign our waiver and release form at packet pickup. Riders under 18 years-of-age must be accompanied on the ride by a registered adult and their waiver and release form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Participants must wear a CPSC/ASTM/ANSI/Snell approved helmet.
A note from Road Gang member Gary Brannan:
The terrain really isn’t as tough as it looks on the above elevation profile — the HCRH was built with no grades exceeding 5%. Folks of all ages & physical condition have ridden it. When you encounter a hill, just ‘gear down’, take it one pedal stroke at a time, and remember that it’s taking you to a view even nicer than the ones on the way up!
Online registration is the only advance registration method.
For photos from the 2015 event click here! For a video of the 2011 event, go to Gorge Ride – 2011 Video
SRC: www.hcrh.org/events/2016-gorge-ride/ 

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Bus Route To Multnomah Falls To Open Memorial Day Weekend!


One of the most heavily tourist populated waterfalls in The Gorge is getting it's own bus line for the weekends of the 2016 and 2017 summers!

A new bus service, “Columbia Gorge Express,” will link Portland to Multnomah Falls and Rooster Rock State Park this summer. The first bus rolls out Friday, May 27, during Memorial Day Weekend.
A pilot program by Oregon Department of Transportation and partner groups, the Gorge Express will run on weekends and take passengers from Gateway Transit Center in downtown Portland (Gateway/Northeast 99th Ave.) to the scenic waterfall area along Interstate 84 in the Columbia Gorge.
The round trips will run every 15-30 minutes — 12 per day — and cost $5 per ticket.
“Columbia Gorge Express bus provides a relaxing option for accessing some of the best the Gorge has to offer,” the program’s website says.
The bus will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and federal holidays) from May 27 to Sept. 30. Those will be day trips only — the first bus departs Gateway Transit Center at 8:45 a.m. and the last bus heads back from Multnomah Falls at 6 p.m.
A major goal behind the new transit program is cutting down on overcrowding at the growingly popular tourist site, as well as offering a shared means of transportation that links the Portland Metro area to the Gorge.
The Gorge Express was one of the strategies to ease Gorge area congestion identified by an Oregon Solutions team, Historic Columbia River Highway Collaborative Project. That group, convened by Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel, met in early 2016.
Between November 2015 and March 2016, a project team met with transit service providers, held small stakeholder group discussions, and conducted an online survey that received over 1,700 responses.
Feedback was largely positive for a bus service to the popular waterfall alley. More than 70 percent of survey respondents said they would consider using public transit or parking shuttles to reach Gorge destinations.
ODOT expects the pilot program will run summer of 2016 and 2017. The agency is considering expanding with a Hood River stop in future years.
“Hood River is another key destination in the Gorge,” ODOT wrote in a summary of their public survey information.
Along with ODOT, partners for the emerging transit program include U.S. Forest Service, TriMet, Columbia Area Transit (CAT), Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, Travel Oregon, Travel Portland, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.
Tickets will be available for Gorge Express online soon, according to the program’s website. Cash fares won’t be accepted, and riders are encouraged to buy tickets in advance online. The buses fit 20 passengers each or 16 passengers plus two wheelchairs.
For more information, go to www.columbiagorgeexpress.com.
SRC:  www.hoodrivernews.com/news/2016/may/18/bus-service-multnomah-falls-begins-may-27/

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Ultimate Frisbee In The Gorge!

Are you looking for a group activity to do this summer? Well registration for the 2016 Gorge Ultimate Adult Co-Ed Summer League is now open!
Gorge Ultimate Summer League is an annual tradition that will continue this year with games being played at Wy’east Middle School and Horizon Christian School in Hood River on Wednesday nights. The league, produced by Gorge Ultimate, is open to players of all skill levels and of all athletic ability. This is a Gorge-wide league, with players coming from multiple communities from throughout the region.
All players register as “free agents” and are assigned to a team. Captains do their best to create balanced teams made up of experienced and new players to ensure teams are as equal as possible. “The ultimate goal of summer league—no pun intended—is to provide a positive experience for all players so that we can grow the sport in the Gorge,” says Preston Brown, this year’s league organizer.
Details:
The regular season runs from Wednesday, June 15 to Wednesday Aug. 3 and is played from 6-8 p.m. An end-of-the-season tournament takes place Sautrday, Aug. 6. Cost of the league is $40, with registration ending Sunday, June 5. For more info, head to gorgeultimate.leagueapps.com.
About Gorge Ultimate:
Gorge Ultimate is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Ultimate Frisbee in the Columbia River Gorge. The club is not affiliated with the Ultimate Players Association and does not provide liability or accident insurance for players. Any person 18 years of age or older is eligible to play in Summer League, provided they register, pay the league fees, execute the waiver and release of liability and agree to abide by the league rules.
SRC: Read more about this fun activity here!

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Thursday, May 19, 2016


Along the Columbia River Gorge, on the Historic Highway, sits The Vista House at Crown Point. Here you can sit out and look for miles up and down the Gorge, providing the most gorgeous views. If there were anyplace that you had to see in the Columbia River Gorge this would be it. 
Vista House was built between 1916-1918 by Multnomah County as a comfort station and scenic wayside for those traveling on the Historic Columbia River Highway, which was completed in 1916. Vista House is also a memorial to Oregon pioneers. It was formally dedicated on May 5th, 1918.
The graceful octagonal stone structure towers 733 feet above the Columbia River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in National Geographic Society’s 2001 Save America’s Treasures.
In 2000, Vista House was closed for almost five years while an extensive restoration was completed. Over $4 million was raised through the joint efforts of the Oregon State Parks Trust, the Friends of Vista House, and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to fund the restoration. The Vista House re-opened to the public in the summer of 2005 and was formally rededicated May 5, 2006, in a grand ceremony.
The Friends of Vista House now works in partnership with Oregon State Parks to help share the experience of Vista House with over one million visitors each year.
SRC: Finish reading about the Vista House at: vistahouse.com/

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