CANNON BEACH — Barbara Linnett is a friend of trails.

The “friendship” began when she encountered urban trails in cities where she traveled.

“They’re great exercise,” she said. “They can be a challenge sometimes.”

But when her son, Bryan, who majored in landscape architecture at the University of Oregon, prepared a senior project involving the design of the Hammond Mooring Basin in Warrenton, Linnett became more interested in trails than she ever thought she would.

Now, she is a board member of the Warrenton Trails Association, and she chairs the Friends of the Trail group in Cannon Beach.

It was while she was working to develop the Warrenton trail into a 25-mile loop to connect to Fort Stevens State Park and the Fort Clatsop to Sea trail that Linnett decided to become more involved in Cannon Beach activities.

Although Linnett’s family had a long history of visiting Cannon Beach, and her mother had a second home there, Linnett had only moved to town permanently in 2008. She is a retired home-health care manager.

After hearing about a local controversy over the development of a half-mile inner-city “lagoon trail” between East Second and Monroe streets, Linnett told a city official, “You need a friends committee.”

And as usually happens when someone has such an idea, she ended up becoming the chair of the Friends of the Trail group. Linnett gathered supporters to attend city meetings, write letters and testify in favor of the trail.

“It turns out that there were a lot of people interested in the trail,” she said. “Inner-city trails traditionally have problems initially with people who are concerned about their safety, the numbers of people who might use them and parking.

“But once the trails are built, they will come.”

When the trail was approved, she organized work parties. When the trail was dedicated in November, she spoke during the ceremony and cut a garland with a giant pair of scissors to clear the trail for urban hikers.

“Lots of people hear my name, and they say, ‘Oh you’re involved with the trail.’ The city has done an excellent job. It was so much fun to work with people from the city; they were so excited and supportive,” Linnett said.

The trail, which is adjacent to the city’s former wastewater lagoons, eventually may become part of a larger trail that will go the full length of the city and south to Tolovana Park.

Linnett plans to work with a “pallet” group that will look at the trail’s potential uses and signs. Will it remain strictly a nature trail, or will it also have other purposes, such as an exercise trail or memorial trail? Will there be art on the trail; will it have interpretive or historical signs?

The trail is planned to be one of the elements of the “Landscape of the Whale” natural history park that is being developed for the city. The park will surround Cannon Beach and will include the new Ecola Forest Reserve, the city’s 12 parks, the inner-city trail and the beach. Signage and artwork may be planned to link all of the elements together.

When she isn’t walking the “lagoon trail” or the Warrenton trail, Linnett volunteers as an interpreter for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program and is a wildlife rescuer for the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. She also “adopted” a mile along the beach in Tolovana Park to monitor for the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.

Linnett said she enjoys seeing the delight other people experience when they make discoveries on the trail or at the Haystack Rock marine garden.

“It’s very heartening,” she said. “It’s worth saving, and I think we’re doing that. Our forefathers did what they could. Now, it’s our time. Hopefully, the younger generation will continue the work.”

— Nancy McCarthy


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