'By giving a clear trail, we're hoping people will stay on that'

New hiking trail unveiled at Skinner Butte (Photo courtesy of Eugene Parks & Open Space).

EUGENE, Ore. - Hikers and rock climbers in Eugene received an early holiday present, as the new West Summit Trail above the climbing columns at Skinner Butte has been completed.

The new project is now open to the public, with a quarter-mile trail featuring a gravel path, new cable handrails and wooden steps.

Park officials say these additions will make it safer for hikers headed towards the summit, and offer relief to the environment.

"People were making their own routes. A lot of different illegal social trails going through, and we're trying to preserve the native habitat," said Pam Symond, Parks & Open Space Project Lead. "This is probably the best prairie remnant on the butte. By giving a clear trail, we're hoping people will stay on that and we'll be able to restore the prairie."

The new additions will also protect climbers from falling rocks caused by hikers who leave the main route.

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