Central Oregon is known for its beautiful hiking trails, but there aren’t too many in Prineville. Soon, residents will have many more to choose from in their own backyard.
The City of Prineville is currently in the master planning process for the Barnes Butte Recreation Area, deciding what amenities and features will be developed on the 620 acres of land.
“What this process will produce will really be a plan for the foreseeable future for that area, and bring to light the community’s vision for what they want this special part of the community to look like,” said Casey Kaiser, associate planner.
One of the most requested additions to the area, more well-maintained trails for walking, hiking, and biking, conveniently located just a few miles north of Prineville.
“I do local horse training, and it’s nice to be able to take the horses right around the corner,” said Kristine Voakes, a Prineville resident. “You don’t have to go far out of town into Redmond or anywhere. It’ll be wonderful, good for everybody.”
Working in partnership with the National Park Service, and the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program, the purpose of this project is to not only enhance, but conserve the parts of Barnes Butte already used by residents – including a track overlooking Barnes Butte Elementary.
“There might be a couple of tracks, maybe narrower tracks, eight or ten feet wide of different surfaces,” Kaiser said. “Maybe one asphalt track or one gravel track, and maybe some sort of rubberized surface that’s more suited for running.”
Other potential amenities include restrooms, picnic areas, and educational signs, which Kaiser says will provide the perfect opportunity for students to learn about the surrounding environment and its history.
“The schools have already been utilizing the site for field trips and fun events like that,” Kaiser said. “We anticipate those opportunities to continue to expand.”
The design workshop, facilitated by volunteers from the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, will be held September 27-28 at Barnes Butte Elementary School.
On September 27, a community barbecue will be held from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. in the Barnes Butte Recreation Area parking lot. The event will provide community members the opportunity to meet the landscape architect volunteers and Barnes Butte Recreation Area Focus Committee members and share their ideas for how they would like to see the area conserved and enhanced.
On September 28, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. community members are invited to attend a workshop presentation at Barnes Butte Elementary School. ASLA Oregon representatives will present an overview of the findings and vision for the Barnes Butte Recreation Area based on their field study and community input from the evening before.
Community experts and ASLA Oregon design professionals will participate in a guided walking tour of the recreation area, meet with community members during a hosted barbecue dinner, identify opportunities for improvements throughout the site, and develop conceptual designs. The design workshop will conclude with a community presentation and overview of the findings and vision on September 28.
Purchased by the City of Prineville in early 2017, the Barnes Butte property is 460 acres of open space at the base of Barnes Butte just north of the Prineville city limits. When combined with existing BLM land, the property connects the north and south ends of Prineville, giving residents and visitors access to more than 620 acres of open space.
“We are grateful to volunteer landscape architects of ASLA Oregon for donating their time and expertise in developing ideas for our wonderful community asset,” said Prineville Mayor Steve Uffelman.
A start date for development has yet to be set, but once it begins, the city does not anticipate the area to be closed to the public.