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Quote of the week

“None of ‘em say we need rail. Even the lumber industry doesn’t want to use the train. … They’re happy with trucks.” — Jacqueline Debets, Humboldt County’s economic development coordinator discussing local business leaders’ take on the push for an East-West railroad.

  1. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 6:17 am

    …which explains Richardson Grove. So, are we for rail or are we for improving our roads?

    Or are we against any transportation improvements that help speed the movement of goods and/or people to-and-from our community? Let’s keep the redwood curtain closed, right? I thought so.

  2. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Better quote was a local environmental leader waiting for the martins to come.

  3. Giggles
    May 25, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Trucks provide more flexibility as routes can be changed for need not for topography of rail route.

    Yes, from the 1850s to 1950s, railroads were the best. The U.S. had no real road network until in 1919 after WWII when Eisenhower who had been on a grueling 69 day Washington D.C. to San Francisco “Army truck train drives across the U.S.” They averaged 5 miles per hour while they tested vehicles and illustrated the need for better roads. That’s why on the interstate there are so many signs that say “69 miles to _____,” it’s an in joke that the first government crossing took 69 days.

    When Eisenhower was President, roads and the interstates became a priority.

    Yes, the established cross country railroads continue to haul huge amounts of freight to this day. But new routes are not being laid, in fact cross-country rails are being abandoned for trails and other public uses to the point that “Rails to Trails” is actually a slogan for the movement.

    The so-called “Redwood Curtain” is a figment of some people’s imagination. Anything we need can and is shipped in and out of our area. We have roads and a harbor.

    There are only 17 tourist trains in the entire state of California and each is an economic engine, pardon the pun. I think it would be better to use the remaining rails we have left around the Bay for an adorable tourist train, which would bring immediate jobs and dollars to our area than to get lost in the 1900s pipe-dream of a “Railroad to Redding.” It wasn’t practical when first proposed long-long ago, it hasn’t gotten any more practical in 90 years.

  4. Giggles
    May 25, 2012 at 7:44 am

    And that should be “1919 after WWI” (sorry for the error)

  5. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

    The so-called “Redwood Curtain” is a figment of some people’s imagination.

    It’s a figment alive and well in the minds of litigious environmental groups, unless you accept their apparent transformation into economic development experts.

  6. pitchfork
    May 25, 2012 at 7:56 am

    This is a more over the top QUOTE OF THE WEEK.
    “Arkley took it a step further, throwing down the gauntlet to anyone who might dare oppose the project. “Look,” he told KINS “Talk Shop” host Brian Papstein, “the fact is [rail connectivity] polls over 80 percent in Humboldt County. Anyone who wants to oppose it, any politician who wants to take up a stand and oppose it, let’s do it. We showed you with Marina Center what will happen. Let’s do it here again.”

  7. Giggles
    May 25, 2012 at 7:58 am

    It’s about choices… Mr. Arkley could support projects that really would benefit people up here and end up a hero, or he can continue doing what he’s doing. As far as I know Marina Center is a flat piece of ground with fences around it. Is that an improvement?

  8. Dick Wad
    May 25, 2012 at 8:11 am

    All his projects have benefited the people of Humboldt. What have you done. All of you silly whiners. This is America, people have control of their own money. Hopefully it will stay this way.

  9. firesidechet
    May 25, 2012 at 8:22 am

    don’t forget,Ms Debets we’ll need those rails to ship our redwood logs out of the county, once the idea takes off that is…..

  10. May 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Arkley and Barnum are visionaries, as far as I’m concerned. Rather than sit around and hope others create jobs and wealth, they go out and try and do it themselves.

    That said, I don’t think an east- west rail line would be viable if only because I think our bay is too small. Still, I don’t have any problem with people looking into, or even promoting, the idea. I admire their forward thinking.

  11. Eric Kirk
    May 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

    But the question remains Fred, what would it haul?

  12. Bolithio
    May 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Visionaries Fred? I dont know much about Barnum. But Arkley is a train wreck! Its great that he doesn’t “sit around” and that he “tries”, but at some point getting second place at the special Olympics doesn’t really help society that much. I wanted to believe … give him a chance, but he failed with the Marina Center.

    The timber companies say they prefer trucks because there is no train! Timber companies are going to pick the option that is the most cost effective. If we had train infrastructure, they would use it. I support the train concept, and think if we invested in trains (in general) we would improve efficiency big time across the board. But i also agree with the assessment that its never going to happen. So yeh, why waste the money on this…especially when we could waste it on something else! lol

    Our culture appears to be so disappointingly decisive and fractured, that we will continue to fight, make war, and kill ourselves – instead of building trains, advancing science, and exploring outer space. Which is what I would be doing if I was super rich.

  13. Percy
    May 25, 2012 at 8:58 am

    So DW, why don’t the DWs that are trying to ram this railroad down our throats try financing it with their own money, since this is America and people have control of their own money, right? Why all the begging at the public trough where we don’t even have enough of those hard earned tax dollars available to pay for teachers, firemen, and police anymore. Why not get Goldman Sachs or Bain Capital to step up if our local gazzilionaire thinks this is such a great idea, without the usual tax payer guarantees though. Maybe Rob can guarantee it through his own bank if it’s such a sound investment. Since we all hate socialism so much let the true capitalists fund their own boondoggle since they will reap the profits. Don’t like that financing idea? Then that would make you a bit of a hypocrite dontcha think? The timber industry is not pushing this because they have to wait 2 generations before their industrial forests can be clearcut again and the little bit of wood being cut till then is moved fine with trucks or barges. Try pushing something that makes sense DW or keep listening to KINS.

  14. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Good points Percy.

  15. Tar and Feather 'Em
    May 25, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Hey Fred, what about when your so-called “visionaries” insist on flushing taxpayer monies down the toilet on a hare-brained scheme with next-to-no possibility of realization, as an explicit political bludgeon meant to divide the community? Just wondering.

  16. Mitch
    May 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

    The quote I loved in this week’s Journal is the headline of Carrie Peyton Dahlberg’s editorial: “We’re Not Stenographers.”

    Three cheers!

  17. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Arkley and Barnum are visionaries, as far as I’m concerned.

    Vision…or hallucination?

  18. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 9:18 am

    “Timber companies are going to pick the option that is the most cost effective.”

    Like clearcutting despite how obviously fucked up it is for everything and everybody.

  19. Julie Timmons
    May 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Hey, Giggles, please cite your source for the statement that “cross-country rails are being abandoned for trails”. Where has that happened?. It seems to me that only the already-abandoned rails and short-line rails are being considered for conversion to trails. Did I miss something?

  20. High Finance
    May 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Other than a knee-jerk opposition against anything and everything that RA supports or a opposition to any development, what explains such virulent opposition to this feasibility study ?

    I mean, yes the idea sounds a little far fetched to me too, but none of us have any expertise in this field to know if it is possible. Isn’t that what a feasibility study is supposed to determine ?

  21. Mitch
    May 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Yes, HiFi. That’s why I’d like the County to front me a few hundred thou to study the feasibility of blimp service between Trinidad and Santa Rosa.

    I’d pay for it myself, but if it’s successful, it will be of great benefit to the county, so I’d prefer the County pay.

  22. Percy
    May 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Mitch, sounds like you’re ready to “Talk Shop” on that wonderful media outlet KINS, after Rush and Hannity of course.

  23. Mitch
    May 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Percy,

    Great idea. The hot air would be perfect for lifting the blimp!

  24. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Forget about dirigibles, Mitch — it’s the pneumatic tubes that are gonna be the wave of the future.

  25. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Also, someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, information will be managed by computer machines with all contained on punchcards, and calculations performed with gears and sprockets.

  26. Mitch
    May 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

    You’re right tra, and they’re available NOW from Central Services, thanks to one of the best movies ever made:

  27. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    But seriously, had they built this ride-along-the-South-Fork-Mountain-Ridge route a hundred years ago, rather than the Eel River Canyon route, it might have been a good idea at the time. At the moment, it seems extremely unlikely to prove cost-effective.

    If potential investors want to look at the feasibility of building this route now — both the engineering feasibility of building a rail along that route, and the economic feasibility of it ever becoming a viable cargo route — I have no problem with them spending their own money on that. I do have a problem with wasting our alreasy extremely overstretched tax dollars on such a study.

  28. May 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Tar and Feather wrote, Hey Fred, what about when your so-called “visionaries” insist on flushing taxpayer monies down the toilet on a hare-brained scheme with next-to-no possibility of realization,…..

    We can’t be sure that there’s no possibility it couldn’t happen without some sort of study. I’m not sure I have a problem with government money being involved but the numbers they’re suggesting are a bit much for me.

    I can’t imagine why it would cost half a million dollars to see if something like that would be worth pursuing. Seems to me you could get a handful of people using Google Earth to scout proposed and possible routes for a train. You could probably do much of the rest of the study the same sort of way, at least enough of it to figure if it was worth seriously pursuing.

    I wonder how Bill Barnum would answer such questions? It’s too bad the N.C. Journal article focused on why such a project wouldn’t work without allowing some rebuttal by Arkley & Barnum.

    Again, I don’t think it would work, if only because the bay is too small to generate the traffic needed to make it viable, but I’m all ears if someone wants to bring industry and good paying jobs to the county. I’m skeptical that sort of money is needed for a study on its feasibility. I don’t hold it against them for suggesting it.

  29. JamesTaggart
    May 25, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Where do tax dollars come from?

  30. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 10:57 am

    What would Ron Paul do, Fred?

  31. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

    We can’t be sure that there’s no possibility it couldn’t happen without some sort of study.

    Sure, but given how far-fetched the whole scheme seems on its face, I am against using taxpayer money to study the feasibility of it.

    Let the proponents spend their own money on some initial studies, and if they can come up with something more promising than “well, there’s no absolute proof that it’s impossible” then maybe I’ll reconsider whether our any of our scarce tax dollars should be allocated to studying it further.

  32. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Don’t get me wrong: I think railroads in general are great. They’re a much more energy-efficient way of moving cargo and passengers long distances, and a great way to move passengers short distances in areas of high population density.

    I wish we had rail service here, but I just don’t think it’s going to be economically feasible in the near future. Maybe it will be more feasible at some point in the future, if fuel prices continue to rise and the greater energy-efficiency of rail outweighs the high cost of creating and maintaining the infrastructure in a place like Humbolt, where the volume of both cargo and passenger traffic is bound to be much, much lower than in more densely-populated areas.

    On the other hand, by the time that happens, maybe we’ll all be driving electric cars and trucks.

  33. May 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Let the proponents spend their own money on some initial studies, and if they can come up with something more promising than “well, there’s no absolute proof that it’s impossible” then maybe I’ll reconsider…

    That’s fine by me, although I wouldn’t have a problem with some government money being involved. How much would be ok? I don’t know.

  34. May 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

    What would Ron Paul do, Fred?

    He’d probably leave it for the state and counties in question to fight over.

  35. Saturday's Child
    May 25, 2012 at 11:28 am

    The people bringing this up are only interested in one thing.

    Money. Their own.

    So what do the intend to transport across the mountains? Will it be depleted uranium? It will have to be something no other port will handle. The West Coast has plenty of container ports already.

  36. May 25, 2012 at 11:38 am

    “I think it would be better to use the remaining rails we have left around the Bay for an adorable tourist train, which would bring immediate jobs and dollars to our area than to get lost in the 1900s pipe-dream of a “Railroad to Redding.”

    And just what part of riding next to 101, then the mud flats and the backyard of Manila is adorable?

  37. Anon.
    May 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    In response to Eric’s question, the thing that the railroad WON’T haul is ass.

  38. Somewhat friendly
    May 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    The bay has thousands of empty commercial acres that are maritime related. What it lacks is the infrastructure to use that area for commerce. The port will not be viable without the rail. The rail will not be viable without the port. All of this would take 10 years to complete either or both projects. But apparently the wish that pervades this blog is that we should just continue to grow marijuana and call that economic development.

  39. May 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    just what part of riding next to 101, then the mud flats and the backyard of Manila is adorable?

    Indeed. We’ll take a look at John Murray’s guided tour of the tourist train he had in the Times- Standard a few years ago. I would have just posted the link but couldn’t find it online. I did, however, have his full piece posted on my blog:
    All aboard the scenic tourist train

    Welcome aboard! We appreciate your paying $15 to ride this steam excursion train to Samoa and back. I will be your host and point out sights and answer your questions.

    Yes, that is an oft-asked question. No, that is not graffiti. Someone actually was paid to paint the restaurant that way.

    Now hold on as we get up to our full speed of 15 mph. This is the Old Town portion of the tracks.
    No, you cannot see the place where Councilman Glass and Mr. Arkley got into their altercation from the train.

    If you look to the left you will get glimpses of the bay and the marina. Now coming up on your right is a 20-foot retaining wall. At the top of this wall where it is not visible from the train is the Ingomar Club and the picturesque Humboldt County Library.

    As we proceed, you will note on the right the backs of many buildings that you normally don’t see.

    Now we are crossing the Eureka Slough. If you look out to the right you will see Highway 101, and on the left mud flats.

    We are further along, and if you will look out the right you will see Highway 101, and to the left mud flats.

    Here is a break in the scenery. On the right is Highway 101, and to the left is California Redwood’s plant.

    Yes, sonny, I know you can ride your bike faster than this train travels, but probably not for two hours straight.

    Now up ahead we are breaking into the open and you will notice Highway 101 on the right and mudflats on the left.

    Now this is really interesting. On the right is Highway 101 and Resale Lumber, and on the left is Bra-Cut Lumber.

    We are now approaching a real eye-popper. On the left are a series of billboards that you can see close up rather than from Highway 101 which, by the way, is still on our right.

    If you have seen enough of Highway 101, you will be pleased to know that we are leaving it, and that is South G Street on the right. Coming up on your left is the Arcata sewage plant. We lose our scenery for a while as we wend our way through Arcata.

    Yes, sonny, I know those people are jogging faster than we are traveling.

    We are leaving Arcata now, and on the left is Samoa Boulevard. On the right is some pasture. Please keep the windows on the right side up, as that giant sprinkler is spraying a collection of barnyard waste mixed with water.

    We are now traveling through downtown Manila. When we clear Manila, you will notice the mud flats to the left and Samoa Boulevard to the right.

    Here we are at Samoa. You have 20 minutes to look around and then be back on board for the return trip, where 101 will be on the left and the mud flats on the right.

    No, madam, it is not mandatory that you ride the train back. Yes, you could probably walk across the bridge faster. Yes, it would probably be more scenic that way also. Do me a favor and take that snotty kid with you.

    -John Murray lives in Arcata.-

    Opinions expressed in My Word pieces do not necessarily reflect the editorial viewpoint of the Times- Standard.
    MY WORD
    John Murray

  40. Somewhat friendly
    May 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    You with your tiny minds that keep asking what will be hauled on the railroad go out and buy water in a bottle. You can get it free from a tap, but that is called marketing. To get the shippers to call at Humboldt Bay one needs to market it. Or how about garbage out as a backhaul. Anyone think that is a bad idea to lower garbage rates raise your hand.

  41. Somewhat friendly
    May 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    John Murray is the retired CEO of the county after being the head of Public Works for years. Nice retirement, NO to everything. I’ve got mine, don’t change a thing.

  42. May 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Anyone think that is a bad idea to lower garbage rates raise your hand.

    Good idea, but we’ll need a study to figure out if it would actually be cheaper to haul garbage by rail. Seriously.

    Depending on how much actual cargo ends up on such a line, it might well end up much more expensive than trucking if a lot more incoming freight doesn’t materialize.

  43. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks, Mr. Murray — I hadn’t realized how ugly and boring the bay and the farmlands around it were until you explained it so clearly. Obviously our bay is just an absolute aesthetic shit-hole, and I’m just shocked I didn’t see it before.

    I certainly won’t waste my time riding my bicycle around the bay now that I have been shown the blighted landscape through your manure-covered glasses, as opposed to the beauty I see with my own lyin’ eyes.

  44. Jack Sherman
    May 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    So far, the local record of our development community “visionaries” is reprehensible.

    Through a combination of self-preservation paranoia, fear and pure greed these “visionaries” have never lost control of local political offices, thus, successfully maintaining access to public infrastructure subsidies required by the quick-profit of more and more remote subdivisions and the public welfare subsidies required by big-box employees who will never be able to afford those homes. (Forgot the bailouts already?).

    It is the same self-preservation paranoia that keeps media from reporting this unsustainable harvest of public subsidies, and that keeps a weary public averting their own lying eyes from communities now awash in the petty-predatory industries that prey (and hasten) economic collapse.

    A far less expensive economic/marketing study would reveal that a railroad is merely faith-based economic voodoo, it would expose a few connected family’s ability to get rich on gravel extraction for a decade or so.

    If we were serious about a railroad, we would be demanding equally massive investments in manufacturing incubators and industrial parks for our youths to begin utilizing local resources for value-added products in an inevitable green economy….products to actually export!

    It’s the direction other industrialized nations are taking….that are decades ahead of us.

  45. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Next up, Mr. Murray’s guided tour of the Avenue of the Giants. I’m sure he’ll easily be able to demonstrate how this that, too, is just a long, boring ugly ride that no one would or should bother with. After all, why would anyone want to take the Avenue, when it’s nothing but a strip of ugly pavement with a bunch of overgrown trees (seen one and you’ve seen ’em all), and a few dilapidated motels and tourist traps. Right?

  46. May 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for posting that Fred. Much needed comic relief.

    As for marketing the port… Some 6 years ago the Harbor District hired the former marketing director of the Port of Oakland to market Humboldt Bay. He got a very tidy some but came up zero for interest in our port. Not suebif he is still under contract.

  47. HUUFC
    May 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Humboldt Bay will not be developed for container ship use, therefor a railroad will not be needed. New Panama Canal locks are being constructed to allow the larger ships to pass through and sail directly to east coast ports. Savannah has a $600 million project that was just increased Monday by $2.8 billion for expansion. (money that does not exist btw) Sorry.

  48. May 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    “The Harbor District’s costs, meanwhile, were only going up. Just at the trough of the recession, it hired a new employee, dubbed a director of maritime commerce. Wilson Lacy, the former maritime director at the port of Oakland, was tasked with bringing business to the port, for a $100,000 yearly salary. Unfortunately, he was scrambling for new clients just as those potential clients were pulling away.”

    http://www.northcoastjournal.com/news/2011/11/03/becalmed/2/

  49. May 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    What ever happened to RAPIT?

    “RAPIT’s focus is the return of rail service to the north coast and the revitalization of the Harbor and to create quality living wage jobs and is strictly a volunteer and non-partisan group. RAPIT spans the complete political spectrum and includes people from throughout the Northcoast. Bill Bertain and Pete Oringer organize our periodic meetings that typically have about 20 people in attendance, often including members of the Board of Supervisors, Rail Authority commissioners and Harbor Commissioners.”

  50. just middle class
    May 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    The real issue here is Humboldt County’s Econ Development person with no vision and voicing anti-economic development ideas.

  51. May 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Or, she is actually showing some rare (for humboldt) common sense.

  52. Festered
    May 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Humboldt Bay and Eureka are no secret.Every port director,port authority,big wig investor and businessperson know about it.No investor will touch it because the bay is too small and remote.The surrounding terrain is too steep and unstable.There are no signifigant resources,either.

    Arkley,put your money where your mouth is and fund a study.You probably can’t find one investor to put up a buck.

    Sad,the north/south line is damaged beyond feasible repair for even a trail.Soon,the remaining tracks around the bay will be too damaged for even a tourist train.

  53. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    So just to re-cap, Mike thinks the bay is ugly and boring, and that Humboldt residents rarely show common sense.

  54. May 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Arkley,put your money where your mouth is and fund a study…

    And if he did that the folks doing the study would just be accused of being Arkley minions who came up with results skewed to match whatever agenda he supposedly has.

  55. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    As the article says, Arkley said on the KSLG radio interview that he already did the studies. Listen to the interview.

    http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2012/mar/1/rob-arkley/

    He even tells the interviewer that the studies are available and that all you have to do is ask for them.

  56. firesidechet@hotmail.com
    May 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    do you really have to encourage Ms. Debets?

  57. Not an Expert
    May 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    pretty funny reading about the supposed virulent opposition to the idea of a new railroad – where is this virulent opposition? All I see is people pointing out how impractical and infeasible it is. And all I see on the Balloon Track is a whole lot of nothing, even with the ball in Arkley’s court for almost 2 years now. But oh I suppose there are the naysayers and obstructionists to blame.

  58. May 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Precisely.

    And Anon 5:53 … Well, you know.

  59. May 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Are you kidding? The whole damn bay is “adorable!”
    And another thing, I’ve already solved this problem. Why won’t things stay fixed?
    We install pumps for air, we get a pneumatic train from England, and presto! We have a “Destination Site” for tourism. The pneumatic train, which is also adorable; will travel all around the adorable bay, and adorable old town. Maybe it could have semi-open seating. It could run all year with the air pumping constantly.
    Yeah, yeah, all a pipe dream. Wouldn’t happen unless some guy would get to own it. Couldn’t have the county or some other “Public” owning it.

  60. Festered
    May 26, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Then Arkley can show up at the city council with his study and his interested investors.Not some recently fired David Hull groveling for money for a study.

    We just went through this with the north/south line.We all made comments about how it was obsolete and not feasible.The opposition complained that we were environmentalists trying to block progress.Now that it is destroyed beyond feasability for anything the oppostion moves on to another joke.

    Only in Humboldt does this happen.New York,Missouri,Colorado,Nebraska,L.A.,Burney,Washington-they all had a brain and railbanked to save and utilize a valuable asset.

    Where has anyone ever tried to take back railbanking for rail and it failed?

  61. Festered
    May 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Better yet,the city council can pick the study and send the bill to Arkley.

  62. ContortaContortaMuerta
    May 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    The whole damn bay is “adorable!” Moviedad is right.

    Which begs the question, why thousands of event-goers are encouraged to trample the forested dunes in the Manila-Samoa area. Grow-up please, study what it takes to maintain a wetland in the sand, study why our coastal wetlands are in jeopardy and repair your damage.
    School of forestry, geology and botany can see a dune consume forests from their offices on the hill in Arcata. Soon expect fragmentation of the peninsula.
    Buffoonery killed our wetlands, trees and fox- for money, er I mean glory.

  63. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Dan, you really need to find a new hobby.

  64. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    The bay has thousands of empty commercial acres…

    Who owns this empty commercial land?

  65. trail head
    May 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Well, seems like those radicals in the midwest have been converting rails to trails for decades. I’ve been on others in the east coast not mentioned in article below. They are wonderful! What an excellent use of these publicly owned right-of-ways. Put them to the best use that benefits the most people.

    From Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_trail

    In North America, the decades-long consolidation of the rail industry led to the closure of a number of uneconomical branch lines in the 1960s. Some were maintained as short line railways, but many others were abandoned.

    Beginning with a few lines in the Midwestern United States,[citation needed] these disused industrial relics were turned into ecological areas functioning as linear parks or community space, but mainly as non-motorized transportation or recreation corridors for walking, hiking, bicycling, horse riding, birdwatching, etc.

    By the 1970s, even main lines were being sold or abandoned. This was especially true when regional rail lines merged and streamlined their operations. As both the supply of potential trails increased and awareness of the possibilities rose, state governments, municipalities, conservation authorities and private organizations bought the rail corridors to create, expand or link greenspaces. The first abandoned rail corridor in the United States converted into a recreational trail was the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in Wisconsin, which opened in 1965. The following year the Illinois Prairie Path opened. The longest developed rail trail is currently the 225-mile Katy Trail in Missouri; when complete, the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska will extend for 321 miles.[citation needed]

    The conversion of rails to trails hastened with the federal government passing legislation promoting the use of railbanking for abandoned railroad corridors. This process would preserve rail corridors for possible future rail use with interim use as a trail.

  66. Dan
    May 27, 2012 at 8:02 am

    The bay has thousands of empty commercial acres…

    Who owns this empty commercial land? ANONS

    This “empty commercial land” is generally ‘wetland,’
    velocity-zone and tidelands. The only legal use within
    250′ of these areas is agriculture or resource-dependent
    uses.
    FEMA too has input. If Federal funds are used, they are not to effect wetlands. FEMA enters again when one reaches for flood insurance- single-source (FEMA) and zone-priced.
    Humboldt County is decades behind in coastal science, for decades now while we should have been armoring our coastline- we’ve done the opposite, screwing tomorrow.

    Those wetlands are the earth’s kidneys, keep them healthy and the’ll keep us healthy.
    Beautiful day.

  67. May 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    The more this happens the more likely a coal train could be headed our way:

    “SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the development of coal-export terminals in Washington state after raising concerns about increased train traffic and potential harm to health and the environment.

    Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Seattle-City-Council-opposes-coal-export-ports-3592981.php#ixzz1wJGsSxtJ

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