Donations: Banks-Vernonia State Trail Update
Last year, the club donated $12,000 to an assortment of organizations. We donated $5,000 of this money to Friends of Stub Stewart State Park, another non-profit organization. They, in turn, gave the money to L. L. “Stub” Stewart State Park. We donated the money with the expectation that it would be used to repair the two worst bridges on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. The park manager had told me that he believed a bridge could be repaired for about $2,000. Because there were two bridges in bad shape, and anticipating overruns, I lobbied for $5,000, and the donation was approved.
Unfortunately, the estimate the park manager gave me was only a scientific wild guess. The best bid for repairing the one bridge over the Nehalem River was $10,000. That included both approaches to the bridge (asphalt for the bicycle/pedestrian path and gravel for the horse path) and some parts of the bridge railing). All the club’s donation was spent on this one bridge. The balance was paid out of the park’s operating budget. ✎
In the last couple of club meetings, a member questioned the appropriateness of our donation, stating that:
- There was no way to track where our money went.
- Oregon State Parks was giving money away to other organizations and it was therefore inappropriate for us to be giving money to state government that already had enough money that it could give some away.
- We did not get any credit for our donation.
- Our donation went into a restricted fund and was paid to the construction company. The invoice erroneously labeled the bridge over the Wilson River but correctly showed that it was the bridge at milepost 17.5 on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, which is the one over the Nehalem.
- The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation does, in fact, make grants to other organizations, but not out of operating funds.
- Signage has been approved showing our participation in the project. The park’s maintenance department will attach the sign that accompanies this article to the bridge that was repaired using our money. There will be a sign at each end of the bridge. The park will use the same sign in other places where our funds have contributed to upkeep. The language shown at the bottom of the sign will, of course, be modified to suit the site where it is placed.
Dave McQuery, Membership Secretary