Cycle Oregon Grants Program Rolling Strong
It’s grant season here at Cycle Oregon! Proposals for the Cycle Oregon Fund are coming in and we are eagerly anticipating rolling up our sleeves and reviewing them. We always get inspired and excited by the scope and range of projects being conceived around the state. Having made nearly 200 grants totaling more than $1.6 million, we are constantly reminded of not only how much potential there is in Oregon but also how great the need is. We know we can’t solve everything but we know we can make a difference.
Year-end reports for projects we funded in February are starting to roll in. Earlier this year we made twelve grants totaling nearly $70,000. This included projects funded through our philanthropic ride CO3 (we funded all of the projects that requested support). We also made a Signature Grant of $50,000 toward the Salmonberry project. Here are a few updates and highlights that we wanted to share.
Wallowa Resources in Enterprise is building the future one student at a time
Wallowa Resources is one amazing organization. They formed in 1996 in response to changes in national forest management resulting in shuttering local mills and 20% of the workforce lost their jobs overnight. In the back room of a bakery, a group of local citizens came together to create a new community organization to deal with this abrupt economic downturn– Wallowa Resources. Today they educate the next generation and put local people to work. Over the years we have supported a number of projects and this year we were proud to support a high school apprenticeship program where young people got hands-on experience in the field and learned not only about professional paths but also about their area and themselves. One of their participants, Briana, explained what the program means to hear, “Working for Wallowa Resources made me want to be more involved with the outdoors.”
For a community that has such strong ties to the land it still takes work to ensure that residents keep that connection. Briana explains, “Most teens would agree, technology is one of the biggest causes of why we spend the majority of our time inside. When I worked for Wallowa Resources and took their classes we did lots of outdoor projects. I didn’t even think once to look at my cell phone. I had lots of fun!”
She adds, “We did some hands on projects and collected data. I learned so much and I liked going out and doing field work with people I’ve never met before. It was a great experience! I learned that I liked working with adults and college students and it made me excited to go to college.”
Building Mountain Biking in Baker County
There are so many things that we love about bicycling in Baker County. And now there’s even more to love. A group of locals from Baker Loves Bikes and the Baker Area Mountain Bike Initiative (BAMBI) has been developing mountain biking trails around the area. According to Pat Thomas, one of the project leads, “2015 has absolutely flown by for us. We were awarded a Cycle Oregon grant in the early spring and hit the ground running. We were able to buy enough trail building hand tools to outfit a 30 volunteer work crew. We were also able to partner with our local ACE Hardware store, Thatchers’s, to buy the other half of our tools. Thatcher’s even matched our money and enabled us to double our tool order. As we stand now, we are fully capable of outfitting our volunteers with safe, quality tools for future works days to come.”
Word is that some of the best trails in the country are hidden in plain sight in and around Baker City. With a new map in the works it is even easier to spend some times exploring.
Pat saw the opportunity to help build this market and started Range Tour & Shuttle Company this year, the first and only mountain bike tour and biker/hiker shuttle service in this area. “We exceeded our projections and are looking forward to next season. Range feels that we are a very real asset to this community and we are so lucky to be able to do this in Baker County and the rest of Northeastern Oregon. We had a very busy week during Cycle Oregon shuttling riders to and from venues, thank you for coming out here this year, it was amazing to be a part of the Cycle Oregon experience with the riders, helping them out. Our other highlight of the summer was partnering with Eastern Oregon Visitors Association to bring a writer and photographer for several national mountain bike media outlets (Dirt Rag, Pinkbike, Bike) to Baker for a week and show him and ride with him on most of the best trails in the area. This trip will result in a substantial updating to photo assets for the county and region as well as some editorial material in national publications.”
The Cycle Oregon Fund, developed through event proceeds since 1996, makes annual grants to preserve special places in Oregon, promote bicycle safety and tourism and support community projects. Since its inception, the Fund has awarded 189 grants totaling more than $1.6 million to projects.
You can help us grow the fund by making a tax-deductible contribution! It’s an easy way to help us do more good for the special places and important projects throughout the state.