Umatilla Trail.jpg

A segment of trail in Umatilla winds along the Umatilla River near Umatilla High School.

Walking from one part of Umatilla to another should get easier as the city begins linking its trail system together.

The city is hosting an open house on Tuesday to collect input on a draft master trail plan that includes 12 different projects to connect parts of the city. Development and recreation manager Esmerelda Horn said they will be looking for feedback on the plans and which areas of town to tackle first.

“What we’re asking is, where does the priority lie on where we get started?” she said.

The draft plan presented Tuesday will encompass Umatilla’s three main areas (South Hill, McNary and downtown), with options to link them through what the city hopes one day will be one large intracity trail.

“We have a lot of trails, but none of them connect,” Horn said.

The open house will be at city hall, 700 Sixth St., with a presentation from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and opportunity for questions and input lasting until 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

The master trail plan for Umatilla is not to be confused with a larger inter-city trail project, which supporters hope will link Echo, Stanfield, Hermiston and Umatilla with one long trail along the Umatilla River. Previously known as the West County Trails Project, it has been rechristened the Umatilla River Trails Project.

Horn said representatives from all four cities have been meeting regularly to move the Umatilla River Trails Project along. They plan to hold an open house presenting the idea to each city in mid-October.

In 2018 Umatilla County received $150,000 in seed money from the National Park Service to plan the project, with a goal of someday having roughly 25 miles of trail along the river.

Horn said the West County Trail will link to the trail system Umatilla is planning within the city.

On the other side of the county, a Walla Walla-based group is working to put together the Blue Mountain Regional Trails Project, which would include trails in Southern Washington and areas near Milton-Freewater.

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