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Grant to help fund Prineville-area trails

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The Crook County Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP) is donating $10,000 to the Central Oregon Trail Alliance's Crook County Chapter to help fund the construction of trails that extend from Prineville to the surrounding territory.

A nonprofit volunteer organization, COTA works with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other land managers to build and maintain trails throughout Central Oregon. It is dedicated to the stewardship of sustainable human-powered trails and preserving access for mountain bikers through advocacy and education. 

COTA has worked over the past 20 years to design and construct hundreds of miles of single track in Central Oregon.  In January, the COTA Crook County Chapter was formed to expand the trail network into Crook County.

Trails have been on the city of Prineville's planning list for more than10 years.  Under the guidance of COTA, the Crook County Chapter will create a cohesive trail system that will feature beginner and intermediate trails close to Prineville, and more difficult trails farther out on state and federal lands.  The five-year target is to have 25 miles of trail in place and an additional 50 miles in various stages of planning and construction.

"I have been mountain biking in the Ochoco Mountains for over 16 years and the area is still one of my favorite places to ride," said Woody Starr, COTA chairman.  "Prineville and Crook County have a strong showing of engaged community members and leaders interested in creating new trails. 

"This level of widespread and diverse support for trail development combined with COTA's experience and reputation opens the door to create a richer bicycle culture in Central Oregon, which serves the citizens of Central Oregon and increases bicycle tourism to the area.  The CHIP donation will be the catalyst the Crook County Chapter needs to make its trail plans a reality."

CHIP identified the project as one that would benefit the health and well-being of Crook County residents by providing opportunities for recreation.

"This network of trails will be accessible to nearly everyone," said Sharon Vail, CHIP coordinator. "The level of difficulty of the terrain will vary, and will be open to walkers and bikers. It will provide Crook County residents with an opportunity to get out, exercise and enjoy this amazing place where we live."

To learn more about the Central Oregon Trail Alliance and the Crook County Chapter, visit the COTA website

About Crook County Community Health Improvement Partnership

CHIP is a volunteer organization sponsored by Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville. It focuses on community-identified health priorities, and helps its residents live healthy lives.

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