Euclid said the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but which is the most scenic? Probably one of the trails or pathways winding around Lake Oswego. Inspired by a master plan to provide its citizens with safe passage by foot or bicycle through its neighborhoods, parks and retail centers, the city of Lake Oswego offers a variety of trails and multi-use pathways that feature tree-lined corridors, lake and river views, wildlife and natural vegetation.
With his bent for preciseness and straight lines, Euclid might have struggled with the current Lake Oswego pathway system, unless he followed this guide:
1. It’s not when you get there, it’s how. So, when the scenery is so beautiful, what’s the rush? One of our family’s favorite routes is the seven mile lake loop which my wife and I often run to inaugurate a new year. Passing through downtown and taking in scenic lake views, it’s a beautiful course but challenging as anyone who has huffed and puffed his or her way up McVey or to the South Shore Outlook can attest.
Another Costello favorite is the Iron Mountain Trail that meanders 1,284 feet up above the Lake Oswego Hunt Club, a historic equestrian center in town. Dropping down alongside the Lake Oswego Country Club, you are free to turn left on Iron Mountain and head into downtown or turn right and point yourself towards Lake Grove.
2. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Many of the pathways and trails complete a loop so forget your straight lines and need for efficiency. Just take in the sights from the wakeboarders on Oswego Lake to the Osprey on the Tualatin River.
3. Horace Greeley was all wrong—it’s not “Go west, young man,”, it’s Go up!” If you set out to explore Lake Oswego by foot or bicycle, be prepared to climb. While some pathways are relatively flat (like the Bryant Woods Park trail or Iron Mountain corridor), most require you to put those thigh and calf muscles to work. But look at it this way, you’ll burn 68 percent more calories walking uphill than on a flat surface.
4. Good things come to those who wait…and plan. While these pathways and loops provide Lake Oswegans with an excuse to get out and experience the great outdoors, they don’t yet provide an interconnected way of getting around town that pathway advocates like Tom Fahey envision.
“It’s a fragmented system right now,” explains Fahey. His long-term goal is to see a system where “paths are linked together in some sort of logical web so people can travel easily and safely on foot or bikes,” he explains. As a member of both the Transportation Advisory Board and Comprehensive Plan Citizen Advisory Committee, Fahey is involved in trying to make that happen.
5. Join the Community Bike Ride this Sunday. Mayor Jack Hoffman, a self-proclaimed “good weather” biker committed to braving some winter rides, is also invested in providing Lake Oswego residents with transportation choices on how to get around town. With that in mind, he is sponsoring a family-friendly, 12 mile Community Bike Ride around Lake Oswego this Sunday, September 18, 2011, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Lower Millennium Park.
In addition to introducing the new Police Chief Don Johnson and having fun, Hoffman’s plans for the ride are twofold: to demonstrate that it’s possible to bicycle from downtown Lake Oswego to Lake Grove and to raise awareness about the City’s involvement in updating the Comprehensive Plan, including addressing ways to connect the community through roads that can be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. To register for the ride, contact Laura Weigel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 506.675.3730.
What’s your favorite pathway around Lake Oswego? Let me know.