A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Wood-chip path: Not great for bikes

Written April 28th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Looking west along the upgraded riverside path between Bowman and Eads parks on April 27, 2023.

That’s a swell-looking new pathway along the Willamette River between Bowman and Eads parks in Albany. Only trouble: The thick layer of wood chips means you can’t ride a bike there.

Well, maybe you can. But it’s not easy. It’s kind of like trying to ride a bike on loose gravel.

The pathway roughly follows an easement the city got years ago to give the public access to the riverfront east of Bowman Park.

The late parks director Dave Clark had a vision of extending a riverfront pathway all the way from Bowers Rock in the west to near the Wah Chang metals plant, now ATI, in the east.

That vision died with Dave in 2002. But this easement remains, and the developers of The Banks apartments there were obligated by their  approved site plan to “improve” the dirt trail that had been there before.

For some reason, maybe to hold down weeds, wood chips were the alternative chosen. Nobody asked me. If they had, I would have suggested leaving the trail uncovered. It was easy to walk on and great for bikes too.

From the east end of the wood-chip treatment, the natural trail continues through the riverside woods, across Cox Creek to Simpson Park. With luck, no one will spread wood chips there. (hh)

Here’s the natural section of the path, which continues toward Simpson Park.





21 responses to “Wood-chip path: Not great for bikes”

  1. Anony Mouse says:

    This is comical. Mulch ado about nothing.

    • Matthew Calhoun says:

      Anony Mouse is correct! Private industry just can’t get anything right!

      • Anony Mouse says:

        I’m being respectful here. No insult intended. But….

        Over your head – An expression meaning a comment that is higher than your ability to grasp or comprehend.

      • Cap B. says:

        You are a smart aleck, and that is not the word that starts with an “a” that I wanted to use, but I am trying to follow Hasso’s rules.

    • Cap B. says:

      So apparently it is “over your head” that a path that is friendly to bike riding and to those with mobility issues is a good thing.

    • Craig says:

      Says the non-bike rider. A path that joins two bicycle paths that is not paved seems rudimentary and unplanned.

      We all have different priorities.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Very similar to the paths around LBCC…

    • MarK says:

      With the same problem, but nice of you point it out

    • Cap B. says:

      And what do the LBCC paths have to do with the Dave Clark path? You are a master of changing the subject and weaseling out of reasonable conversation.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Follow the dots. LBCC trail/path is also wood chips as the path in the article…

    • Patricia Eich says:

      I used to run, now mostly walk on the bark paths over by LBCC. It WAS difficult to run on when they put new bark down. However I knew in a couple of weeks it would be fine so I just worked with it. It kept the paths in better shape in the long run. No pun intended.

  3. Tim Graves says:

    I am unhappy with this choice as well. I run that path and walk the dog regularly. The dirt trail was better. This is not an improvement to the path at all.

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    Spray some GREEN PAINt on it.

  5. Jet says:

    All those chip pathways are very hard for the mobility challenged to navigate.

    • Allie says:

      Very hard for mobility aids & therefore disabled people. I am one so I know. It looks nice though & keeps mud down in heavy rain but that’s the only reason I can think of to use it.

  6. Anony Mouse says:

    This path victimizes bikers, and the transabled.

    I self-identify as handicapped so I had my feet cut off. It has been my life-long desire to be in a wheel chair.

    Some say it was a cry for attention, but they were wrong. I was just being my true self.

    Mulchy paths like this discriminate against the transabled. On Monday I’m filing a lawsuit to overturn this unjust act.

    • MarK says:

      Very inappropriate to joke about handicaps. Grow up!

      • Anony Mouse says:

        A joke?

        Isn’t reality defined by one’s subjective inner state instead of objective biological reality?

        Who are you to judge me? It’s my choice, not yours. I’m harnessing the cultural power of self identification.

        I define myself as transabled. And mulchy paths like the one Hasso described are a burden to my people.

        You, and the owner of this abhorrent path, have a social obligation to accept and accommodate us.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      @Anony Mouse – Gordon is that you?!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hasso can not ride his bike on the wood chip path. This truly is a tragedy. He has my thoughts and prayers.


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