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Island in need of road-end stewards

Road End Committee members Bitsy Ostenson, left, and Marci Burkel on shoreline accessible from the Yaquina road end. An Eagle scout project culminated in a trail and steps to the beach; the committee now seeks stewards to help maintain it.  -
Road End Committee members Bitsy Ostenson, left, and Marci Burkel on shoreline accessible from the Yaquina road end. An Eagle scout project culminated in a trail and steps to the beach; the committee now seeks stewards to help maintain it.
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At the top of a steep bank, where Yaquina Place ends and a staircase drops to the south end of Murden Cove, Bitsy Ostenson and Marci Burkel stopped Wednesday to point out an access sign leaning casually against a tree trunk.

Straightening the sign would by no means be an expensive or time-intensive chore, but these days the city has little spare staff time or money for maintaining the shoreline access points. So Burkel, Ostenson and other members of the city’s Road Ends Committee are appealing for road end stewards – volunteers who can monitor and tend to the tails of public right-of-way roads in their neighborhoods.

“Its the best way for us to keep our road ends monitored and working well,” Ostenson said.

More than 50 public road ends on Bainbridge offer portals to Puget Sound, but so far only a handful have been adopted by stewards. The stewards keep an eye on the trails, do small tidying jobs and note bigger problems like toppled trees and missing signs. Stewards make twice-yearly reports to the Road Ends Committee.

Yaquina Place is one road end in need of an attendant.

In 2002, Eagle Scout Ian Roberds built simple wood and dirt steps down to the shoreline, eliminating a perilous scramble that detoured visitors through a neighboring property. Like most of the island’s road ends, the amenities are utilitarian but the reward for visitors is in the surroundings. For neighbors, a walk to the end of Yaquina yields quick access to the beach and a generous view of the Sound.

Lately, road-ends work has been incremental, as the Road Ends Committee ekes improvements from a dwindling budget. In July, it teamed with the Metropolitan Park and Recreation District’s Trails Advisory Committee to regrade a path at the terminus of Olallie Lane, near Battle Point Park. The committee has spent some of its reserve on wood for benches. But volunteers are still needed to build them.

“We’re working with what we can,” Ostenson said.

Residents interested in becoming stewards of road ends in their area can call Burkel at 780-0601.

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