The Latest - January 2023
Crescent Parking Lot at the existing Dollar Mountain trailhead. The lot includes 11 parking spaces and solar-powered lights.
The Dollar Mountain Trail Park planning is moving forward. The project team is creating a concept plan that envisions a network of trails specifically designed to help hikers and mountain bikers share the trail. Some trails are planned to be uphill only for mountain bikers to minimize potential user conflicts. Bikers will be rewarded with a series of loops that stem off of the main Dollar Mountain Trail. A circular path around the property will provide hikers/walkers with several miles of new trail as well.
Here’s what the project team has been working on:
A Concept Plan that prioritizes accessibility. The plan will demonstrate how the system can be built to avoid congestion both on the trails and the roads leading to them. Trails will be designed to take advantage of Dollar Mountain’s natural topography and provide access to multiple viewpoints. The system will accommodate different types of non-motorized use and be specifically designed to mitigate potential conflict between hikers and bikers. This will help avoid the accidental mountain bike-hiker flyby, which is no fun for either party.
A Pilot Trails Project would reroute several steep sections of the existing 1.9-mile Dollar Mountain Trail. It would also create a new 2.4-mile loop trail in the southern section of the property, and a new 1.7-mile trail that will connect Dollar Mountain Trail to Hieglen Loop to the north. The pilot trails will open up new access and make the existing trail more enjoyable for people of varying abilities. Parks funding has been earmarked for the pilot project. In January 2021 the citizen-led Walkways-Bikeways Committee voted to recommend that the city move forward with the project. City Council will likely vote on the proceeding with an RFP in early 2021.
Landowner Agreements and Outreach. Discussion between the project team and adjacent landowners is ongoing. A survey was sent to all landowners with property which borders city land. Each private landowner has since received communication from the project team. Many have provided additional input, which will inform the system’s design. The city is also working with the BLM and Josephine County in hopes to secure agreements that incorporate additional land into the trail system.
- City Council's vote on funding for the pilot project will determine the next steps. If awarded the project team will prioritize construction in the early 2021 trail-building season.
- If the land use application is approved by the Planning Commission, construction on the Crescent Parking Lot will begin in 2021.
- Once drafted, the concept plan will be shared with the city and residents. Feedback will inform the final plan.
- Agreements between the City of Grants Pass and the BLM and Josephine County.
What We’re Hearing from You
The project team has met with over a dozen private landowners who own property near Dollar Mountain. Most landowners support the project. The top concerns are fires, litter, and camping. Recommendations for how the city can help mitigate trespassing and illicit activity nearby are being incorporated into the concept plan or passed on to the city for action.
The city takes concerns seriously. Trail development generally displaces illicit use of public land, especially near urban and suburban areas. Hikers, bikers, and neighbors self-police. The presence of recreationists often discourages camping. The city’s work on Dollar Mountain has already led to a $438,000 Firewise award from the Oregon Department of Forestry. This project will expand the fuels reduction work that was done by Grayback Forestry in 2019 and 2020.
The project planning team is convened by Parks Superintendent Josh Hopkins and Dan Miller of the National Parks Service. Jon-Paul Bowles of Destination Management Advisors supports the city.
Dollar Mountain Project
The Dollar Mountain property is west of Starlite Drive and east of Pinecrest Drive. This land is approximately 444 acres which can be used to develop a useable trail system for hiking and biking, similar in size and scope to Cathedral Hills.
The purchase was discussed at the City Council level, and at the January Bikeway Walkway Committee and Park Advisory Committee meetings. A Public Open House was conducted on January 16th, 2019 in Council Chambers where Staff, Mayor, and 4 Councilors answered questions and listened to concerns.
- Grayback Forestry completed the first phase of fuel reduction work on 55 acres near residential areas. The piles created by this work are ready to burn once the weather permits.
- The City will continue to ask the public what would be the best and highest volume use of the property, through meetings and surveys.
- The City will discuss contracting for professional trail designer services. A development plan is required in most cases for grant applications.
- The City will seek grant funding for the development of the park.
Questions & Answers:
Escrow closed on January 31, 2019. We do not have all the answers yet on what the future holds for this park.
Developing hiking and mountain biking trails are the first primary uses being considered. Many future uses are not yet determined. Paragliding, equestrian trails, dedicated motorbike trails, and photo spots are just a few of the ideas for activities the public has shared with us. The development of the property will take time and funding.
Currently, we are seeking public input to help make decisions on the next phase of development.
- When will this park be open to the public?
That is undetermined. The first phase of the project will be fuel reduction and addressing fire safety concerns.
- How was this park purchased?
The City will use General Funds to buy the property, not current Parks Operating or Capital Funds.
- Will City Police respond to calls?
Most of the property is outside City Police jurisdiction. The County Sheriff will respond to calls in most cases. We will have more discussions and decisions to make about how to address security concerns in the park.
- Will motorbikes or off-road vehicles be allowed?
No decision has been made yet about these activities.
- Where will the trailheads be?
This will be part of the planning process as we work with a professional trail designer.
- Will there be restrooms?
Typically, we provide restrooms in our parks, but no decision has been made yet on where or what kind of restrooms will be available.
- Will horseback riding be allowed?
This has not been determined yet but there has been interest.
- Will there be trails made for different levels of difficulty?
Most likely yes. We will work with a professional trail designer to develop access for different levels of activity.
- I live next to this property. How close will the trail be to my backyard?
We don’t have a set design yet, but the intent is to impact private property owners as little as possible.
- I’d like to volunteer at Dollar Mountain, who do I contact?
Contact Josh Hopkins at email@example.com at 541-450-6160.
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