Art Carroll, Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District board member and trail volunteer, received the annual Doug Newman Trails Achievement Award on Monday.
Oregon State Parks Trails Coordinator Rocky Houston and the Oregon Recreation Trails Committee presented Carroll with the award at the “trail site” on west 30th and Sherman Street.
The Newman Award honors volunteers’ hard work, dedication and perseverance to improve and benefit trail users.
The award was given to Carroll for his outstanding efforts to improve trails in the community. He has been a board member since 1999 and since then his main focus for the district has been on trail design, location, community and trail development.
Houston said the Oregon Parks and Recreation advisory council created the award in memory of member Doug Newman. Newman dedicated his time to the outdoors; he belonged to the University of Oregon outdoor program and has worked with improving Oregon Trails.
“Art is a good example of the spirit Newman had. His contribution and service to the community has been recognized by many people,” Houston said.
For many years Carroll has been dedicating his time to create a better system for trail users.
“My primary goal/objective was to connect neighborhoods and to serve connectivity for the community and wellness,” Carroll said.
Overall, he wants to provide better commuting routes for families and their children.
The Indian Creek Trail is divided into four segments. The first segment begins on Fairview Road and continues on to Rocky Road. The district has documented the weekly users on this segment of the 1.1-mile section of the trail to have an average of 280 walkers.
The second segment begins on May Street and continues through Sherman Road. This segment is still being constantly worked on by Carroll and the State Parks and is estimated to be completed by next month.
Segments three and four are still being negotiated and in need of easements. Carroll’s next task will be to convince property owners to continue on with the next two segments, which will start on Sherman Road and follow through Rand Road and connect to the Skate Park on Cascade Avenue.
Carroll was instrumental in obtaining easements for the Indian Creek Trail. For example, he negotiated the purchase of property that was land-locked to enable the district to give the land to the city and receive a trail easement.
He also worked with businesses such as Pacific Power and Providence Hospital and Down Manor to obtain easements.
Obtaining easements and working with other state and local agencies to fulfill requirements are all part of Carroll’s goal to improve and provide a better trail system.
This interaction for easements includes city and county planning departments, DSL, ODFW, DLCD, Hood River Watershed group, ODOT, Hood River County School District and many others.
Carroll’s work experience with the U.S. Forest Service and the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area has prepared him to be one of the most valued board members for the Parks District.
The amount of energy and spirit Carroll has for creating trails in the community are outstanding, according to Lori Stirn, Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District director.
“We estimate that Art has contributed over 5,000 hours of volunteer labor and coordination in addition to numerous hours of preparation for meetings,” Stirn said.
“He is an inspiration to others in the community. He encourages people to get involved and works to motivate other volunteers and district staff.”
A few of the groups that have benefited from these trail developments are high school cross country participants, parents with strollers, bicyclists, fitness-motivated adults, nature lovers and dog walkers. Most of the trails are handicapped-accessible, involving switchbacks and additional leveling to get trails to the appropriate grades needed.
Some of the trails are used for annual cyclocross races as well as community runs and challenges. A number of the trails provide an alternative route to schools.
In addition to Carroll’s love of trails, he has an excellent grasp of the district’s role in the community and works to improve the quality of life in the Gorge, according to Stirn.