This site was last updated in 1999. For the NEW Greenway site, click on the above link.
An Introduction to the Bear Creek Greenway
BEAR CREEK GREENWAY, a narrow corridor of publicly-owned land, follows the Bear Creek streambed from Ashland to Central Point. The Greenway, over 1,000 acres of land, will one day include a continuous 21-mile path from Oak Street in Ashland to the Seven Oaks Interchange in Central Point. Unlike an urban park which is an island of green within a city, the Greenway is an open space connecting communities and their parks.
Currently, three sections of this trail are already being enjoyed by county residents and visitors. A 2-plus mile section connects Pine Street in Central Point with Railroad Park in north Medford. A 3.4 mile section in Medford is complete, from Railroad Park to Barnett Road in south Medford. A 5 mile section from Suncrest Road north of Talent to Ashland. Trail design and engineering have been completed for the remaining 12 miles of trail. Future phases of Greenway development will connect Emigrant Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail to the east, and Eagle Point and the Rogue River to the north and west.
The Central Point, Medford, Talent, and Ashland paths are paved, suitable for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, skaters, strollers, and wheelchair users. Motorized vehicles, with the exception of maintenance vehicles and wheelchairs, are prohibited.
Why is the Greenway Important?
The Greenway is essential for preserving both the quality of Bear Creek's water and its unique stream-side habitat, which many organisms depend upon. This corridor is a refuge for animals and it will increase in importance as population in the Bear Creek Valley grows. The Greenway is a great place for exercise, nature study, or just a quick escape from the city every season of the year. It is relatively cool in the summer, and in the autumn, leaves turn many colors before falling. The enviable quality of life enjoyed by Bear Creek Valley residents is further enhanced by the existence of the Greenway.
The mission of the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation is to support acquiring land, restoring and protecting habitat, enhancing safety and security, constructing trails and bridges, and developing park facilities within the Bear Creek Greenway for the benefit of the general public.
The primary objective of the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation in the 1990's is completion of the Bear Creek Greenway trail as a multi-use foot-and-bike trail from Ashland to Central Point.
Bear Creek Greenway Trail benefits our valley's quality of life
Where segments of the Greenway trail have been completed, we have a sampling of what the Bear Creek Greenway can mean to our valley. In the not-so-distant future we can anticipate these benefits:
This combination of benefits becomes uniquely available to many people with the completion of the Bear Creek Greenway trail from Ashland to Central Point. Few of these individual benefits can be readily provided by private developments, nor by existing public facilities in the Bear Creek Valley. If we want to enjoy fully these benefits of the Bear Creek Greenway at the start of the 21st Century, then we need to secure funding to complete the trail from Ashland to Central point in the next few years.
- The Greenway trail will be a paved, year-round alternative transportation route for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- The Greenway trail will be a place that is close to home, where families can be together in the outdoors without a trip in an auotmobile.
- The Greenway trail will allow families, individuals, and school classes access to places to observe wildlife.
- The Greenway trail will be part of a green ribbon of land through our urbanizing valley.
- The Greenway trail will provide access to Bear Creek, its tributaries, ponds, and wetlands.
- The Greenway trail will provide more alternative access to parks and other destinations along the Greenway.
- The Greenway trail will connect the communities along Bear Creek from Ashland to Central Point.
Who Oversees the Greenway Development?
Overseeing the development of the Bear Creek Greenway are the Greenway Committee and the Greenway Foundation. The Greenway Committee, composed of representatives of the communities involved and one county representative, advises Jackson County on running the Greenway. The Greenway Foundation is a tax-exempt private foundation with the goals of expanding public awareness about the project and raising funds for development.
The cities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point, and Eagle Point have assisted in land acquisition and planning. The trail through Medford is managed by the city; the Talent trail is managed by Jackson County.
How to Use this Guide This Trail Guide upon which this web site was based was developed to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the unique habitats and organisms found in the Greenway corridor. The Guide is divided into two parts: "Part One, the Talent Trail," covers the section of trail between Lynn Newbry Park and Wranglers Arena. "Part Two, the Medford Trail," covers the path from Bear Creek Park to Railroad Park. A third part, covering Medford to Central Point, is pending.
Each trail section includes interpretive sites identified by painted numbers on the path. At each of these locations, this Guide describes the wildlife, plants, culture, or history that will help you enjoy this natural corridor. By being observant, you can create your own special experience on the Bear Creek Greenway.
You may use this Web site in various ways. Just browsing through it is an enjoyable way to spend a little while. Or you can use it to learn more about the trail before you go walking, or afterward. The pages may be printed out easily to take with you, in lieu of the booklet, as you walk the trail. Friends who live far away can also enjoy it, if you tell them about it, and if they are on the Internet. Students of all ages may find material for reports and papers.