Four Impressive Local Additions to Recreation:
Whychus Creek reclamation:
On October 1, Deschutes Land Trust publicly announced an ambitious goal to fully reclaim and restore Whychus Creek, a cold water tributary that runs northeast from Sisters into the Deschutes River. The mellow stretch of river—and riverside trails—will be a boon to butterfly and bird watching, low-key hikes, and fly fishing.
Mt. Bachelor Bike Park:
Much like the difference between cross-country and downhill skiing, the sport of downhill biking eliminates the uphill portions of mountain biking, and replaces them with faster and longer trails than most standard trail riding offers. In July, the first run of the much anticipated park opened on Mt. Bachelor—and along with it, a formal start to a new sport and industry in the region.
Sunriver-Lava Butte Bike Path:
Opened in late summer, the six-mile stretch of paved pathway begins to allow cyclists to travel farther away from the twisty roads of Sunriver to the wider world—and hopefully will continue to push for a contiguous bike system between Sunriver and Bend.
Hut to Hut Nordic Traverse:
Six winters ago, Three Sisters Backcountry set up the area's first hut-to-hut system, the Tam Rim backcountry huts. This winter, they added a 22-mile, self-guided, two night (read: two huts) system. Starting at Dutchman Flats, the path is much more mellow, but just as challenging and elegant.
And, Two to Look Forward to:
Simpson Ice Skating Rink:
Located on an 11-acre parcel between Colorado Avenue and Simpson Avenue (in an area best known for the Mt. Bachelor Park n' Ride lot), improvements at the Simpson site finally began this fall. Chain link fencing rings the area now, but within a year (fingers crossed), the site should boast a covered, outdoor skating rink large enough for hockey games and regulation figure skating. The crown jewel of the Simpson Avenue Site & Pavilion is a $11.3 million project funded by the $29 million Bend Park and Recreation District bond approved by voters two Novembers ago.
In-town Whitewater Park:
Also part of a voter-approved bond measure, the so-called water park is scheduled to open as soon as next Memorial Day—and will create a triage of sorts: one pathway will be an easy-going step-down series of pools to gently usher tubers past the Colorado Dam; on the other side, there will be a protected area to give fish a straight shot through; and in the middle, the highlight of the project: four engineered "waves," which will create an aquatic jungle gym for kayakers, surfers and paddleboarders. It will be the first such "park" on the West Coast, although western states like Colorado and Idaho already host dozens, including in downtown Denver and Boise.