For the bicycle touring crowd, this is as close as it gets to something like a release party for Apple's iPad.
The 2,400-mile bicycle route connects Canada and Mexico via paved roads roughly along the corridor of the Pacific Crest. The 5-map set will be available at the end of April.
The bicycle route marks Adventure Cycling's achievement of creating more than 40,000 miles of bicycle routes criss-crossing the US.
On to Portland
After meeting members during a brief reception at the Seattle REI store, executive director Jim Sayer and cartographer Jenn Milyko gave an overview of the Missoula, Montana-based non-profit's activities and presented details of the newest bike route.
Sayer and Milyko will continue to Portland on Wednesday and Eugene on Thursday. Check here for details and to let them know you'll be attending. Sayer will continue on to San Francisco and Santa Cruz next week.
As described by Milyko, the development of the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route has an interesting history.
Originally, the Adventure Cycling staff considered creating another off-road route, much like the popular Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. But as they looked into it, they found too many areas where tracks and trails crossed areas not accessible for bicycles.
Then someone mentioned a bicycle route researched for 10 years by Bil Paul. In 1990, he turned the route maps into a book entitled “The Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail,” now out of print. That route essentially followed paved roads along the popular hiking trail, which is what the Adventure Cycling staff already had in mind.
So they hired Paul to go back out and re-route his earlier efforts, entering the information into a geographic information system that resulted in a database that was used to create the maps. This is the first map created by GIS.
In the final analysis, the route crosses the Pacific Crest hiking trail some 30 times. It also visits the North Cascades National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Sequoia National Park. It passes Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood and other scenic, volcanic peaks. The high point will be California's Tioga Pass, at 9,943 feet.
There are a few improvements to the new map sets, such as North's placement in the scale bar, shaded relief, lettered turns and distances to 1/10ths of a mile.
Although a little reluctant to disclose their next project, Sayer hinted that work that is beginning on a spur route off the existing Underground Railroad Route into Canada. Also, the mapping department is continuing to update changes to some 37,500 miles of bicycle routes elsewhere in the network.