Heritage Trail: Mount Angel tests new ways to promote activity, history

September 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community
Mount Angel Heritage Trail Route

Mount Angel Heritage Trail Route

By Tanner Russ

Eager to showcase Mount Angel’s unique characteristics, quirky history and spiritual significance, community members are working to create a Mount Angel Heritage Trail.

The walking the trail is the brain child of a Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce subcommittee started by Susan Gallagher, Paula Mabry and Don Robinson. Over time they have been joined by representatives from the city, Mount Angel Abbey, Queen of Angels Monastery, St. Mary Church and the Benedictine Foundation, as well as other chamber members.

“I’ve had this idea in my mind for many years that Mount Angel is unique,” Robinson said. “I used to have an idea that was specifically oriented around tourism regarding Mount Angel.  It started over a cup of coffee, recognizing that Mount Angel is unique and interesting and there may be an opportunity there to invite people to come and explore.”

Though the Heritage Trail idea is still in its infancy, it will be ready for a “test run” at this year’s 50th celebration of Oktoberfest. Guests will be able to follow a walking path with temporary informational signs at several sites including the Mount Angel Abbey, Louie’s Blacksmith Shop. the Glockenspiel, and the Fr. Bernard Youth Center, site of the first settler’s cabin.

Robinson said a budget has not been determined for permanent kiosks yet, and work will need to happen before the committee’s vision takes final form.

One things it needs to work on is a safe crossing at the intersection of Highway 214 and Church Street.

“Work is needed in order to accomplish this,” Robinson said. “There is currently not a sidewalk that goes over the railroad tracks; it stops just short of where an improved sidewalk would lay into place.”

Committee member and City Manager Eileen Stein and her assistant Justin Hogue are pursuing grant opportunities.

“We’re a small committee with grand ideas that we think have traction and are very interesting for the people of Mount Angel, and for the visitors that will come if we build it,” Robinson said.

“Now we’re just trying to figure out where do we get funding, are there grants available? Can we get some public money to help fix some of the infrastructure problems?  Can we get some private money to help tell our stories at these different locations?”

Visitors to Oktoberfest will find information on how to travel the Heritage Trail in the official Oktoberfest program. Feedback can be provided at Facebook.com/Mount Angel Heritage.

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