New bike trail opens along Mill Race in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A new 3-mile paved bicycle and pedestrian path along the historic millrace will provide a new way to recreate and commute in Springfield, according to people who attended the formal grand opening of the path.

"It's a magnificent day," bicyclist Artemio Paz said Thursday. "This is a wonderful event and to see the community out here opening up this fabulous path is really great - great for the city and the metro area."

The Mill Race Path leads from the Booth-Kelly mill site to an intersection with the Middle Fork Path, which connects east to Clearwater Park and west to Dorris Ranch.

The new Mill Race Path also has a trailhead at Jasper Road.

The new bike path leads riders right through Springfield, a safer option than pedaling on busy streets.

"The nice thing about this is I can connect at Clearwater and then go all the way into Eugene Valley River by riding this bike path," Paz said.

The path access previously blighted areas of town.

"This area was an abandoned gravel area," said Vincent Martorello with Willamalane. "It was fenced off, it was brush and blackberries, old concrete."

Now bicyclists say it's not so shabby.

"One of the things I noticed coming down here is you can hear the birds in the trees along the millrace," said Mike Cantrell, a member of the GEARS bicycle club. "The Doug fir, the maples, the cottonwoods and then the lagoons and the wetlands that are a part of this bikeway and very very impressive."

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