June 19, 2015

Greetings, Mr. Unger.

I am writing to express my support for the proposed paved path between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch, and to encourage you to support it as well.

For 15 years my husband and I lived in Portland and owned a vacation house at Black Butte Ranch. The paved paths around the Ranch were a big plus for us, since we could hop on our bikes and go for a ride, or zip over to the General Store to pick up a forgotten item, or ride to the Lodge for dinner. And when friends with kids came to visit, the older kids could safely ride their bikes to and from the pool, giving them a sense of personal freedom and independence that they wouldn’t have had if we’d had to drive them everywhere.

If we had had a paved path to Sisters, we would have used it all the time, and so would our guests. What better outing than to ride our bikes into Sisters for lunch and shopping? Or a nice dinner on a summer evening? If you multiply this by all the people who stay at Black Butte Ranch in a year, it’s easy to see that a paved path could provide a significant economic shot in the arm to Sisters.

But the economic benefits extend beyond just the Black Butte Ranch/Sisters connection. Numerous studies from around the country have shown that visitors will often extend their stay an extra day so they can enjoy a longer-distance paved path. It’s one more attraction to bring people to Central Oregon, and one more reason for them to stay a little longer.

My husband and I are now retired and live in Bend. I am an avid equestrian trail rider, and while I won’t be able to ride my horse on the paved path, I will tell you that trails are the primary reason we chose to move to Central Oregon. The horse trails here are wonderful. And if you ask a mountain bike rider about Central Oregon bike trails, they’ll rave about Phil’s Trail and Peterson Ridge. But not everybody can ride a horse or a mountain bike to get out and enjoy our beautiful forests. A paved path would make this experience available to other people in our community: kids, families, people with physical challenges, and even average folks who just want to take a walk or an easy bike ride in the forest. A paved path would enhance everyone’s quality of life and provide health benefits by making it fun and easy to get more exercise.

I urge you to support the creation of a paved path between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch.

Regards,

Kim McCarrel

Old Bend Redmond Hwy.

Bend, OR 97701