Home > Arcata, Eureka, Humboldt Bay, Humboldt County > Support the Humboldt Bay Trail

Support the Humboldt Bay Trail

A petition has been launched to pressure the North Coast Rail Authority to get out of the way of a recreation trail along Humboldt Bay.

The NCRA dug it’s heels in the mud again at yesterday’s meeting in Eureka. Details here.

From the petition:


It has been nearly two decades since trains have run along Humboldt Bay and feasibility studies have shown it will never return.

Public access to OUR public resources is a right of all Californians. Our community is united in our resolve to have safe public trails for recreation and multi-modal transportation in the Humboldt Bay region.

For years, the NCRA, an agency created to serve the public, has prevented the implementation of this community-based vision for political and financial reasons.

Railbanking the railroad right-of-way north of Eureka will open the way for the development of a safe multi-modal trail between the two biggest population centers around the Bay for use by walkers, bike commuters, recreational cyclists, joggers, etc.

Railbanking the railroad right-of-way will serve as an appropriate next step in the development of a tourist train between Samoa and Arcata and museum in Samoa. Both the multi-modal trail and a tourist train/museum will be attractive to tourists.

This represents a more affordable solution (this is not the excessively expensive rail with trail option between Eureka and Arcata) that will allow the community to benefit from this asset rather than have the railroad right-of-way slowly decay.

A multi-modal trail has proven health benefits because it encourages individuals to get out, to exercise, to bike commute, etc.

Sign here.

  1. What Now
    July 12, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for the link, Heraldo.
    Signed and passed on.

  2. Fact Checker
    July 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks H

  3. Not a fan
    July 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Yes, because there are not enough areas in Humboldt to get out, exercise, bike, and all that good stuff. Total Crap like most of the garbage comes out of this site. Community based vision, our right. Pure propaganda. Not 10% of the community supports this bunch of lies.

  4. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Yea, practical compromises are so unpopular. That is why the US Congress ranks so high in the polls.

  5. Smart 5th Grader
    July 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Aw Not A Fan, you’re not a fan, but you’re a Hater.

  6. unanonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm


  7. Thirdeye
    July 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Sorry, but that petition is pure horseshit. Railbanking (repurposing easements) isn’t so simple. What they’re advocating isn’t even railbanking. It’s abandonment. Learn the difference. There has been no feasibility study showing that rail traffic will never return to Humboldt Bay.

  8. Thirdeye
    July 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    The petition was started by Peter Nichols. Surprise, surprise!

  9. Just Middle Eye
    July 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Yeah, by Pete. He’s a guy we can hate. Probably a do-gooder American. Always trying to make America a better place. Where’s the profit in that? Huh Pete?

  10. Thirdeye
    July 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    The guy is an ignoramus who thinks he knows everything. He has lots of company in Humboldt County.

  11. Just Middle Eye
    July 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Yeah, Everyone knows that the petition is pure horseshit. I said it, that settles it. Now you all are as smart as the Third Eye.

  12. lumpy swine barn
    July 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Sounds like the nugs are arguing with the slugs. Ugh!

  13. Joel Mielke
    July 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    “Not 10% of the community supports this bunch of lies.”

    It must be so nice to pluck numbers out of your ass, Not-a-Fan, but don’t be disappointed if nobody wants to touch them.

  14. Anon
    July 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Incredible.We have a very valuable asset that is becoming a total loss.

  15. July 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Railbanking requires abandonment but preserves the right of way for future use as rail.


  16. July 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Maybe one these anonymous rail fans can tell when they think there will be a train on these tracks. Any kind of train. Freight or tourist.

  17. LocalBoy
    July 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I live in arcata and find riding a bicycle anywhere around humboldt county, urbal or rural, completely scarry and dangerous. “Not a Fan” get on your bike and ride around your community. Residential mckinleyville is probably the only non totally scarry place I can imagine. This proposal may not be great, but the fact that the railroad has been heldup for alternative use is the result of a horrible fantasy of rich old men. I see many people using the 101 for transportation, it makes no sense to decommission the rail line.

  18. July 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    It not just rich old men but plain old (and young) rail fans. They just can’t envision anything but being able to one day ride or watch a train going around the bay. You would be surprised who fits that MO. Barbara Groom is my friend but also a very avid rail supporter.

  19. steak n eggs
    July 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm


    if the traffic freaks you out, try the hammond trail, arcata community forest, headwaters trail, ferndale bottoms, arcata bottoms, anywhere in loleta, south jetty, avenue of the giants, patricks point drive, blue slide road, yadda, yadda, yadda… the list goes on. I support the bay trail but will get my cycling miles with or without it like many of us do.

  20. July 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    You should call yourself Ham and Cheese.

  21. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    So having 28% of Hboldt county as parks is not enough to get people off there fat ass?

  22. July 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Just because you are an idiot doesn’t mean you can’t fathom the concept here. There are a lot of bike riders in this area. A good number travel (or would like to) safely between communities. There is an opportunity to utilize an unused right of way to make the trip between Arcata and Eureka safe and enjoyable.

    Think of it this way. There is a wagon trail between those communities that is no longer used. Hasn’t been for many years. It would make a great highway 101. But die hard wagon fans say the wagons are coming back and those that drive can take Old Arcata Road or go through Manila. What would happen?

  23. High Finance
    July 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Define “a lot” Mike. Is it 20, 50 that would use this new trail.

    100 ?

  24. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    The trail, while a nice idea, will require significant impacts to wetlands and encroach on wildlife habitat. It should require an EIR/EIS.

  25. July 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Interesting. So I guess the tourist train would require the same?

  26. July 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    How many people would ride the tourist train?

  27. July 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 1.7 percent of all employed County residents commute primarily (i.e., 50 percent of the time or more) by bicycle (see Table 4.3). The bicycle commute rate in the Humboldt County is above average compared to California (0.8%) and the United States (0.4%). According to more recent estimates from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey, 2.65 percent of employed people (16 years and older, and excluding people who work from home) commute to work by bicycle.


  28. High Finance
    July 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    That includes little kids. I’ll bet there won’t be more than a couple of dozen that use this expensive trail. Maybe not even that many.

  29. Joel Mielke
    July 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    It appears that HiFi is plucking hard numbers out of his ass too. Must be contagious.

  30. July 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Bicycle counts were conducted for the Humboldt Bay Area Bicycle Use Study by Natural Resources Services (a division of Redwood Community Action Services) in 1997 and 1998 at various points in and between Eureka and Arcata, including Highway 101 at the Bayside Cutoff and Highway 101 at Murray Field. Given conditions on Highway 101, it is assumed that most bicyclists currently use Bayside/Myrtle Roads and Arcata, even though this route is more circuitous and also has its own safety issues. Even with these issues, a significant number of bicyclists ride
    on Highway 101 between Arcata and Eureka, as seen in Table 3-1. Using Alta Planning + Design’s National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation (NBPD) Project trail usage model, between 2,000 and 16,000 bicyclists ride annually on this corridor. The discrepancy in usage estimates is due to (a) counts at different locations and (b) counts conducted at various days of the week, times of day, and months of the year. Like most places, weather impacts bicycle ridership and it is expected that weather conditions account for much of the variation in counts/estimates along this corridor over the two-year period.


  31. July 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Still looking for project use of the tourist train. Maybe one of the anonostooges can help with that.

  32. July 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    The study is named Draft Feasibility Study for the Humboldt Bay Short Haul Tourist and Excursion Train. See if you can find it.

  33. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    We need a train to connect us to the outside areas so we have mass transportation and we need trails so we can choose to ride bicycles or walk between cities. We need both. I want it all!

  34. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 6:04 am

    how is the Arcata to Blue Lake rail to trail project going? how long has the project been proposed? how about finishing that “conceptual project before ripping up more of our infrastructure.

  35. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I have heard the Skunk Train has about 70,000 riders a year.

  36. Gil Yule
    July 13, 2012 at 7:10 am

    My first choice would be to use the tracks for a tourist train. I’m under no delusion that freight trains will be returning to Humboldt any time soon, short shipping could cover any needs we have in that area.

    Mark Lovelace has indicated that a tourist train just isn’t financially feasible but given the success of the Timber Heritage Society’s speeder rides, with almost no advertising, to almost exclusively locals and seeing the popularity of tourist trains like the Skunk down in Willits, I’m not so sure he’s right. Tourist trains seem to be a great draw for bringing visitors to an area.

    I’m also under no delusion that if the tracks are removed and the land is rail banked that we will have killed any opportunity to ever have railed vehicles along the bay again.

    I’m in agreement that there are numerous places to ride bicycles in Humboldt without the Eureka-Arcata link. My impression is that it mostly benefits those who would like to commute between the two cities under pedal power.

    My second choice would be to throw the bicyclists a bone and go ahead and rail bank it. Not being a bicyclist nor my livelihood dependent on either freight or tourists, what the hell do I really care?

  37. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 7:16 am

    according to NCJ reading of the Feasibility Study for the Humboldt Bay Short Haul Tourist and Excursion Train 35000 to 55000 projected to ride train. 2005 article.

  38. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

    with a creative plan there is no reason both cannot exist.

  39. 713
    July 13, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I think the progressives are worried there might actually be a plan to use the tracks to haul coal, gravel, or some other thing they don’t like. That’s what all the new trail interest is about.

    Same game plan as the eco-hostel, remember that one?

  40. HumBiz
    July 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

    It is not a public resource. The land is owned mostly by private companies and others. The rail has an easement for that use. If the rail is abandoned then the land reverts totally to those that hold title to the parcels that make up the current line. Oh and rail-banking is something those with title to the land have to agree upon as well.

  41. July 13, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Please, before you ramble on do some research. It’s easy. Just Google “railbanking”. I swear, it’s not that hard.

    How about a link to the tourist train feasibility study. And a projected start date would be nice.

  42. July 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

    And if this tourist train is such a great idea why are all the supporters so chicken shit they can’t post with their real name? Or names if there are several.

  43. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 8:58 am

    mike, thanks for so eloquently expressing your argument against a tourist industry in Humboldt County and an excursion train around our bay.

  44. July 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Nice tactic. Distract and detract from the point. Be a grown up when you try and do you character assassination and use your name.

  45. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Unanonymous assumes that tourists don’t like to walk or bike, they only like trains. I guess he doesn’t get out much.

  46. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I have provided the numbers you ask for and I am distracting? as you call us names and not answering good questions about the intent and ability of the trails advocates to actually do what they propose.

    I ask again, how is the Arcata to Blue Lake rail banking project going?

    And please provide reasons why a rail WITH trail cannot work, and by that I mean between arcata and eureka.

    Yes, way less tourists would say they were coming here for a walk around the bay as opposed to a steam train ride.

  47. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 10:01 am

    “Way less”?
    If you find yourself continually extracting tidbits like this from your ass (see other examples above), see your doctor.

  48. inevitable
    July 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

    The trail will go along the 101 side of the bay. The tourist train will run along the Samoa Blvd. side of the bay. We can, and will, have them both.

    There are many advantages to converting the decaying rail line to a useful purpose. Increased options for safely commuting and increased tourism are two.

    Google rail banking to see how it has enhanced the economies of many communities.

    The lock-stepping know-nothings who oppose rail banking have no credibility – only perpetual outrage and temper tantrums. Treat them as you would any two year old having a tantrum – ignore them.

  49. John Oswald
    July 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

    35000-55000 (Feasibility Study for the Humboldt Bay Short Haul Tourist and Excursion Train) versus 2000-16000 (Using Alta Planning + Design’s National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation (NBPD) Project trail usage model, between 2,000 and 16,000 bicyclists ride annually on this corridor.) any questions?

  50. John Oswald
    July 13, 2012 at 10:10 am

    inevitable that they go to name calling

  51. Percy
    July 13, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Anybody else notice that the quality of the right wing trolls that seem to have a pressing need to occupy this site has really gone down hill lately?

  52. thanks for making our point
    July 13, 2012 at 10:45 am


  53. July 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

    To step aside from the tit for tat for a moment let’s pretend ther is no trail proposal. Is the tourist train around the bay the right idea? A primary motivation for it is the fact the THA has all of their wonderful collection of railroad stuff in Samoa. Now think for a moment that all that stuff was on the Eureka side of the bay. Say at the Blue Ox site or even the Balloon Track. Forget the fact there are some historical buildings at the Samoa site. Think about how much more access locals and tourists would have to the collection. Add a tourist train south to Loleta or even Scotia. A more interesting and even more beautiful route.

    I know this idea can be argued. But that isn’t the point.

  54. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 11:02 am

    think how good a tourist train from samoa to the forks of eel river? with a trail along side and nearby where geography and access to other attractions require (wildlife refuge next to Harpers….)….this IS the point and reality.

  55. HUUFC
    July 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Just give spending the taxpayers money a break, the state is broke, the deficit and debt are hidden by the complict polititians and media.Maybe it’s a good idea but put our fiscal house in order first. Any proposal like another trail should have the projected cost listed in the first line, then triple or quadruple the total to scare the public away.

  56. HUUFC
    July 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Add in today’s Sacramento Bee California has the worst credit rating in the United States and the worst rating over the past 11 years.

  57. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 11:29 am
  58. Just Middle Finance
    July 13, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Yeah, we can afford to rebuild bridges in Baghdad but trails, roads, schools and parks for tax paying Americans? Fuh-get-about-it! You suckers need to keep working to pay for Wall Street Bailouts and Gobal Adventurism, or as we like to call it, laying the ground for a more friendly trading partner.

  59. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Now John Oswald can you outline costs in the studies that you reference?

  60. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

    HUUFC, you just showed your hand and your MO. Lie. Lie some more. Take the actual cost and quadruple it. In other words, LIE.

    Give the tax payers a break? I assume you are against wasting money on a feasibility study for the delusional train to Red Bluff.

  61. HUUFC
    July 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Dan Walters also has a short article explaining how the State of California is just as insolvent as Stockton and San Bernardino. San Diego and Los Angeles are not far behind.

  62. John Oswald
    July 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    “the consultants estimated the cost of repairing the tracks, building a depot and outfitting an engine and train cars at between $5 million and $8 million. A lot of that has been done already (June 2005 NCJ article)”

    trail has been cited at about $4 million

  63. Amy Breighton
    July 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Conservative scientific studies show much of the land in this debate to be under water in less than 100 years, although the polar ice caps are melting faster than previously calculated.

    Everything we can do to stop the public-subsidized theft of the remaining “cheap” oil will be necessary to develop, train and distribute alternative, localized energy production.

  64. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    After 100 years of non-train centered development have made trains an inflexible transportation option for small communities with small amounts of goods and people to move around. Start with the General Plan if you want to really prepare us for a train centric world. Just be ready to hit the wall of developers and real estate interests that like things the way they are, or worse.

  65. HUUFC
    July 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I love railroads and heavy machinery, I am still amazed at the hard work and sacrifice that men did to construct the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. I have been to the bridge and tunnel at Island Mountain very impressive. But everything has changed, for the better, as Hwy 101 keeps on improving, sorry, forget the railroad, and the port. Sigh.

  66. unanonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    ? who is talking rail centered development? anon, lower the dosage

  67. a fan
    July 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Joel seems hung up on anal stuff. Which is perfect as it fits his personality. Mean little prick.

    As soon as Peter Nickels is involved, you know its bullshit. He is not an honest person.

    No I’m not a hater. Your not smart as a 5th grader as your logic is faulted. I just have critical thinking skills and reading this sillyness know its crapola.

    Percy what does right wing anything have to do with this. Your just another follower running your silly mouth. If the quality of the trolls has gone down it is probably because the quality of everything on this site is at a low since they turned it over to Mitch. It won’t last until 1/1/13.

  68. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I’m sure that an Arcata-Eureka bike/pedestrian trail would be feasible, and that it would be utilized by tens of thousands of people, both local residents and visitors.

    I also think a tourist train would be a great asset for our local tourist industry. Some tourists who currently skip Eureka might add Eureka to their itinerary, and others might spend an extra day and night in the area — and extra money — benefiting local hotels, motels, restaurants, businesses in Old Town Eureka, and increasing the number of visitors other local tourist attractions.

    So I would really prefer rail with trail. But the estimates I’ve seen for the cost of doing both rail and trail, side-by-side, are much higher than the individual cost of just having one or the other occupy the current railbed. Thus the current dilemma, where those mostly interested in a trail are pitted against those mostly interested in doing a tourist train.

    It’s too bad that the two groups aren’t actively working together to try to find funding (public, private, or probably both) to create a rail with trail option.

    I realize that might involve both groups waiting longer before either a rail or a trail could come on line — but then again they might end up waiting just as long while they are locked in battle with one another — and meanwhile each is risking that the battle might be won by the other side.

  69. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    “I’m not a hater.”
    Yeah, sort of like “trust me.”

  70. July 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Not a hater needs to look in the mirror.

  71. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    “Fan” thinks I’m mean. Sniff.
    Perhaps he should go hang out at the Humboldt Mirror, where all the nice people congregate.

  72. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    “It’s too bad that the two groups aren’t actively working together to try to find funding (public, private, or probably both) to create a rail with trail option. ”

    Thus the proposed compromise.

  73. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I know that the pricetag for rail-with-trail is a barrier in and of itself, but I wonder if a lack of trust, an accumulation of grudges, and the political footballization of this issue is just as big an issue as the funding problem.

    I often see claims by rail advocates that the “real” goal of trail advocates is not so much the installation of a trail, but the elimination of the rails, the idea being that once the rail has been ripped out and a trail installed atop the rail bed, the trail advocates will actively oppose any return of a rail service — along that section, even if the plan was to relocate the trail alongside the revived railroad tracks.

    In other words, these rail advocates suspect that many trail advocates are only giving lip service to “banking” the railbed, that their “real” aim is to have the trail permanently occupy that space, and use that presence to block any attempts to restore rail service along the bay.

    I don’t know how many trail advocates actually fall into that category of having a hidden ulterior motive. My guess is that most don’t, that most would just like to see a trail become a reality, and would be fine with rail-with-trail if and when that became affordable.

    But given that some local rail/port advocates are pushing the East-West Rail idea, and others are vociferously opposed to spending (and in their view, wasting) money to study the idea, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some pretty significant crossover between trail advocates and freight rail opponents — in other words people who wouldn’t mind seeing the Arcata-Eureka section of the railroad tracks ripped up / paved over, not just because they like the idea of a trail, but also as a barrier to future attempts to revive the railroad, East-West or otherwise.

  74. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Meanwhile, I think some trail advocates suspect that the tourist train idea is mostly an excuse to block the development of a trail, and therefore to keep the rail available for potential freight use. And I know there is certainly a lot of crossover between those backing the tourist train idea and those who advocate the restoration of freight rail service, so again I don’t think those suspicious are entirely misplaced. The fact that the NCRA has given lip service to the idea of rail-with-trail in the Humboldt Bay area, while apparently not really doing anything to move in that direction, is not exactly helpful, given the NCRA’s (well-earned) lack of credibility in this area.

    So I’m afraid that where we are right now is that each side has some legitimate reason to suspect the existence of hidden agendas on the other side — and may in fact be correct in these suspicions, at least with respect to the motives of some of the advocates on both sides.

    Which means that actively working together on a rail-with-trail option may be very hard to do, given the lack of trust on both sides, given the grudges accumulated, and given the political battle-lines that have been drawn and political points either side may hope to win (among their base) on the freight-rail issue. So I’m not optimistic that we’ll see a win-win outcome anytime soon. Each side seems pretty well committed to their current strategy, even if that means continuing the current lose-lose scenario for the foreseeable future.

  75. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    So we hear all kinds of reasons that the trail (temporarily on rail) should be stopped, but what is the reason the tourist train is not up an running? No one is standing the way of that, so go do it already.

  76. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    “Thus the proposed compromise.”

    I’m not sure if you’re referring to the “compromise” proposed by the Humboldt Bay T[rail] group (replacing the Arcata-Eureka section of the rail with a trail only, while “allowing” the tourist train to operate only between Arcata and Samoa), or the “compromise” proposed by the NCRA (creating a committee to maybe, possibly, if they can come up with some funding from an outside source, at least consider the possibility of rail-with-trail, someday, maybe, possibly, etc…).

    The thing is, under the Humboldt Bay T[rail] group’s “compromise” they would remove the rails between Aracta and Eureka, and pave over the existing rail bed so that it can be used as a bike-pedestrian trail — which means that the tourist train advocates are being asked to give up their plans to operate their train along that section, and restrict their operations to the Samoa-Arcata section. The trail advocates, on the other hand, wouldn’t be, as far as I can tell, making any real sacrifice at all in that plan.

    So the Humboldt Bay T[rail] folks offer seems to be: Give us all of what we want, and you can have the part of what you want that has no effect on what we want. Not surprisingly, the tourist train advocates do not see this as an offer of compromise, more like an offer to unilaterally surrender.

  77. July 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    You are missing one point. There isn’t a tourist train. The rail needs to be restored before there is one and that requires the NCRA to step up and pay many millions to do so. All the while they are basically broke. Until that time when the state gives more funding to the NCRA the rail will continue to fall into disrepair. That funding hasn’t been requested and may never be as the NCRA is struggling just to get the south end functional.

  78. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t disagree with that, Mike, but, to play devil’s advocate, there isn’t a trail either. It would cost millions, too. And take years. So to me, it looks like we have two potentially feasible plans for the Arcata-Eureka rail bed — (1) tourist train only, or (2) trail only, each of which would require millions of dollars, and years to complete. And a third option — rail-with-trail — that unfortunately would require significantly more money than either rail-only or trail-only, and, I assume, would take significantly more time.

  79. July 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Trail funding is not too difficult to find. Take a look at the Eureka Elk River trail between Truesdale and Herrick. A bit of time for planning for sure. But construction is moving along quite nicely.

  80. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Running a railroad and maintaining a trail are hardly comparable, TRA.

  81. Bolithio
    July 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Why cant we have both? Ive walked many portions of the railroad, I even hitched a ride once or twice when it was still running. Seems like there could be plenty of width to accommodate both.

    What if the trial advocates tried to pool resources with the train people to make something work – instead of trying to kill one or the other?

    A trail system would be awesome and so would a part time tourist train around the bay.

    I say both.

  82. Guest
    July 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    The Security National people really hate Pete Nichols

  83. Just Middle Finance
    July 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    We hate everyone who disagrees with us because we are the Real Americans!

  84. Thirdeye
    July 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Now that Old Arcata Road is much safer for bicyclists, bicycle access advocates would be much better off getting a place at the table for the safety corridor improvement project than waiting for NCRA to agree to railbanking. A bicycle path in the 101 right-of-way to the Indianola Cutoff would provide a reasonably direct route between Arcata and Eureka. Nobody who sees any possible use for the eastern Humboldt Bay rail line is going to be on board with railbanking. For right-of-way and easement holders, railbanking is just a convenient way of getting excess right-of-way off their hands. The safety corridor project has its own uncertainties, but it looks like a straighter shot than waiting for NCRA to abandon the line.

  85. Smart 5th Grader
    July 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Obviously, someone has NEVER ridden a bicycle on the 101.

  86. Thirdeye
    July 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    @Dumb 5th Grader: What part of “bicycle path” do you not understand?

  87. Smart 5th Grader
    July 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    If the bike path is close to the highway, it is dangerous (flying tire pieces, etc.). If it is away from the highway, it is on the Rail Trail. Have you ever ridden a bicycle?

  88. Thirdeye
    July 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    If the bike path is close to the highway, it is still safer than the shoulder of 101. Old Arcata Road used to be scarier to ride on than 101. Now it’s a sweet ride. The east side of 101 would be a better location for a bike path than the rail line.

  89. Smart 5th Grader
    July 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    “The Old Arcata Road is a sweet ride”? If you are suicidal, yes. A path along side Highway 101 is LESS safe than a Rail Trail 25 +/- feet away from the highway. Any smart 5th grader could tell you that.

  90. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Joel said: “Running a railroad and maintaining a trail are hardly comparable, TRA.”

    Yes, I’m well aware that it costs more to run a train. I’m also aware that people pay a fare to ride a train, while the same is not true for trails.

    I’ve heard claims from the pro-tourist-train side that the tourist train would be financially self-supporting once it’s operating (in contrast to the trail, which will have much lower maintenance costs, but on the other hand no fare-based revenues to offset those costs). Their argument seems to be that while the initial costs of getting the tourist train going will be high, the ongoing costs of operating the train would be covered by fares — whereas the costs of policing and maintaining a trail, while more modest, will have to be borne by (county?) taxpayers. That’s the argument I’m hearing…but I’d like to hear the other side as well.

    I know there are quite a few other tourist trains operating around the country, and I don’t know whether they are generally self-supporting, or generally require ongoing subsidies, or at what level of ridership they are generally able to break even. So I would need to know more facts to determine whether, over the long term, a tourist train would be likely to be financially sustainable. For example, does the Skunk Train break even or better, or is it subsidized in some way?

    Of course maintenance / ongoing operation costs are one thing, but initial capital costs are obviously an important factor too. Will it cost more to repair the rail and bridges, etc., to the point where a tourist train can be run safely and reliably on it, than it would cost to tear out the tracks and pave a bicycle/pedestrian trail atop the rail bed? If so, how much more?

    I don’t claim to be an expert on this stuff, and I’m not strongly committed to either side (as I said above, I really wish we could have both, but I understand why that may not happen any time soon), I’m just trying to keep an open mind and learn more. So…feel free to inform me, even if it’s just to tell me where to look to better inform myself.

  91. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    5th Grader,

    Old Arcata Rd. is way better for bicycles than it was before the upgrades. Of course I agree that it’s still not as safe as an actual bike path that is separated from the road.

    But “suicidal” is a huge exaggeration. Unless you also consider it “suicidal” anytime anyone gets in their car and drives anywhere.

    There’s always a chance of an accident, but I don’t think Old Arcata Road is the kind of significant hazard for bicyclists that it was a few years ago.

    As far as your argument that a 101 bike path would have to be 25 feet away from the traffic because of flying tire pieces…Really? I suspect that at that point we’re getting pretty close to the odds of being struck by lightning, etc.

  92. Smart 5th Grader
    July 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Easy Tra. I merely said the Rail Trail was safer than about ten feet away. And yes, ride Highway 101 and count the big chunks of Big Rig tire pieces, dozens per mile. A little riskier than lightning strikes. And yes, the Old Arcata Road is safer than it was. But going from 8 to 18 inch bike lanes to 4 foot lanes is much safer. But if you’ve ridden the Old Arcata Road on a bicycle, then you know that cars treat it like a race track and often cut the corners. Other than that, it’s a walk in the park.

  93. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    All good points, 5th Grader, not to mention that you’ll be much less likely to be hit by a car on a trail than riding on a highway.

  94. High Finance
    July 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    “tens of thousands” Tra 12.26pm ? Come on, talk about pulling numbers out of the nether regions.

    I have nothing against a trail. I just am opposed to spending millions of taxpayer dollars on something that will benefit only tens of DOZENS of people.

    A tourist train cannot possibly be self supporting. It can only exist without millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies.

    If one had to choose between these two bad ideas (why do we have to choose either one ?), the least bad idea is the trail. At least that would be a more one time bloodletting of funds instead of an ongoing waste of dollars the tourist train would be.

  95. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    H.F. – How many people do you think use the Hammond Trail?

  96. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    5th Grader said: “A little riskier than lightning strikes.”

    Well, I’d like to see the data: Number of pedestrians and biyclists killed or injured every year in the U.S. by flying pieces of tire versus the number injured or killed every year due to lightning strikes. I’m pretty sure both numbers are vanishingly small. I’ve heard of people being killed or injured by lightning strikes, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone being killed by a flying piece of tire. I’m not saying it’s never happened (maybe it would just be considered less “newsworthy” than the lightning strikes and that’s why I haven’t heard about it?) but I think it’s safe to say that flying pieces of tire wouldn’t be at the top of my list of things to worry about, bicycle-safety-wise.

    But as to the larger point, sure, a larger shoulder is safer for bikes than a narrower shoulder, a dedicated bike lane is safer yet, a bike path separated from the road is even safer than that, and a bike path separated from the road and located on the other side of a large ditch is safer still. But I think the jump from shoulder/lane to separate bike path is probably the bigger jump in safety, and the additional safety factor added by being 25 feet further away and on the other side of a ditch is not quite so dramatic.

    FYI, for a number of years, I used to commute by bicycle between Eureka and Arcata an average of at least 5 days a week, so I have ridden that section many hundreds of times.

    Occasionally I took Old Arcata Rd (either just for variety, or because I was headed to/from that end of Eureka) and sometimes I went through Manila. I did feel safer on the 101 shoulder than on Old Arcata Road (of course this was before the shoulder improvements on Old Arcata Road), especially after the Safety Corridor went onto effect and the speed limits on 101 were lowered.

    But I do recognize that, even with the improvements to Old Arcata Rd, and the slower speeds on 101, we’re still in a situation where neither of those options are for the faint-of-heart. And a night-time, winter storm ride across Samoa Bridge — when the wind and rain is blasting you one way, then a truck zooms by, blasting you the other way, leaving you wobbling, trying to compensate without overcompensating, at the risk of either swerving into the traffic lane on one side, or pitching over the edge into the bay on the other — well, that’s no walk in the park either! (I should mention that most days that ride dosesn’t seem dangerous at all, I really love riding over those bridges in normal weather conditions, and in fact the Samoa Bridge’Manila route is actually my favorite way to bike from Eureka to Arcata…assuming I’ve got the extra time to spare).

    At any rate, I am all for some kind of Arcata/Eureka bike path, whether it ends up being (“temporarily”) on top of the rail bed, or it is built alongside the rail bed, or alongside the highway between the highway and the rail, or on the east side of the highway, or whatever. Yes, some of those options may be closer to “perfect” than others from the point of view of bicyclists, but any of them would be way, way better than the status quo.

    By the way, I totally agree that too many drivers treat Old Arcata Rd. “as a racetrack.” And the speeding is just as bad — maybe worse — on the Manila side of the bay. Jen Savage has an article up about that over on the Lost Coast Outpost:


  97. Walt
    July 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Oh no: I agree with Hi-Fi!
    “A tourist train cannot possibly be self supporting. It can only exist without millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies.” [I think he meant “with” subsidies]

    “If one had to choose between these two bad ideas (why do we have to choose either one ?), the least bad idea is the trail. At least that would be a more one time bloodletting of funds instead of an ongoing waste of dollars the tourist train would be.”

    Between 1917 and the 1990s, how many times did the line make a profit? And remember, those were the good old days when we had logs and fish and milk to export. . .now we have bupkis. To spend one more nickle on feasibility studies when lots of people went BROKE trying to keep the trains running is crazy. If the trails people can fix it and maintain it, who cares if only five people benefit? No one gets anything with the status quo (except the people “running” this fictional railroad).

  98. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Fi,

    I didn’t mean tens of thousands every day.

    But I would be willing to bet that, in the average week, a couple of hundred individuals ride their bikes between Arcata and Eureka, some of them more than once.

    Over the course of a year, I’ll bet it’s several thousand individuals — ranging from some folks doing it just once (like the bike tourists who we always see during the summer), to others repeating the trip many times in a given year (commuters and fitness enthusiasts).

    And that’s with the current (extremely unwelcoming) conditions for bicyclists. So, yes, I believe that a safe bike path would increase the number of bicyclists using that section substantially, easily up into the range of 10,000 per year or more.

  99. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Does anyone know: How is the Skunk Train down in Medecino financed?

    Does it make money, break even, or lose money?

    Does it maintain its own tracks, or is there a hidden subsidy there?

    Is it a good comparison to what is being proposed here in Humboldt, and why, or why not?

  100. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    HiFi objects to “spending millions of taxpayer dollars on something that will benefit only tens of dozens of people”? I doubt it.

    I’m sure that he enthusiastically supports every “public-private sector” boondoggle that comes down the pike, the benefits of which almost always flow to a few wealthy investors.

  101. Joel Mielke
    July 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    And all good questions, TRA.

  102. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I found one source that claims “there are more than 300 U.S. tourist trains that survive without operating subsidies, and some are highly profitable”


    No footnote indicating where that figure comes from, though. And I wonder whether there may be some hidden subsidies or saved costs due to some of these tourist trains sharing the same tracks as freight traffic (as the Skunk Train used to do, when that line being was used to haul timber at the same time as it was being used for the tourist trips).

  103. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I also found an AVA article from 2003 that was about the Skunk Train being in bankruptcy.

    The article was predicting the Skunk Train’s imminent demise — due to there no longer being freight on that line to help subsidize maintenance.

    But today, 9 years after that article, the Skunk Train is still running, but I have not yet found information on how it is currently financed — whether it is subsidized, and if so how much, and by whom.

  104. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    The wikipedia entry for California Western Railroad / The Skunk Train says:

    “Today the passenger excursion trains are the railroad’s sole source of revenue. Freight traffic is likely to restart in 2014 as the NWP is being re-opened.”


  105. High Finance
    July 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    10,000 TRIPS per year, OK I could agree with that Tra.

    But it would benefit only a few dozen commuters and then maybe a few dozen other regulars on weekends. I don’t know the cost of this thing but I suspect it is far more than it is worth to keep that few people happy.

    I have ridden the skunk train. It now only has a very short track up a hill and then back down. It is a very small time operation. Its total track can’t be more than a mile or two with an engine & cars that remind me of a kids carney ride. It is not a real train anymore.

  106. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Fi,

    No, I think the trail would be used by at least a few thousand individuals over the course of a year, amounting to tens of thousands of trips.

    From my observation, even as it stands today (as dangerous and unwelcoming as it is for bicyclists), there’s way more than “a few dozen” commuters and weekend regulars using the 101 corridor between Arcata and Eureka. (Of course original your wording above was “tens of dozens,” which could mean hundreds.)

    By the way, I suspect CalTrans has an estimate on how many bicycle trips there are on the safety corridor, on average, every day. Whatever those numbers are, you’ll need to multiply them at least several times over to account for people who would like to ride their bikes there but avoid it at the moment for safety reasons (as well as those who currently use Old Arcata Rd or go through Manila and over Samoa Bridge because they don’t like riding on the 101 shoulder), but who would use a bike path along the 101 corridor if one were available.

  107. Anonymous
    July 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Does this proposal include the rail line south of Eureka?

    Currently low income students attending CR are required to spend $300+ (depends on mileage of vehicle, insurance, and maintenance) each semester to drive and park (from Eureka). This is a group that would greatly benefit from a safe bike path. And, it supports the notion of people “pulling themselves up by the bootstraps” through vocational education (a conservative value?). Riding 101 south is a scary endeavor with big trucks and cars zooming by at 65-70mph. This segment of the population is not looking at a bike path as some sort of recreational option. Rather it represents economic improvement and opens up opportunity for low income people.

  108. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    HiFi, I think you’re misinformed about the state of the Skunk Train service today. Yes, it’s a modest operation — but not nearly as rinky-dink as you’re describing.

    According to their schedule, there are daily trips from Willits – Northspur and from Fort Bragg – Northspur.

    That’s a lot more than “a mile or two.” Willits – Northspur – Willits is about 40 miles round-trip (through very rough terrain, I would add) and the Fort Bragg trip is about the same. Passengers can even transfer at Northspur and complete the trip between Willits and Fort Bragg, and make the return trip the same way the next day, which means they will have made a 80 mile round-trip between Willits and Fort Bragg

    Check out their schedule:


    Note that people are paying between $40 and $50 for a standard 4 or 5 hour round-trip from Willits to Northspur and back, or from Fort Bragg to Northspur and back. More for trips that include meals or for special holiday excursions and other “themed” trips.

    According to MCOG:

    “The Skunk Train carries about 50,000 passengers per year.”


    Depending on the day and time, they run some diesels, some steam engines, and some “motorcars,” (which I assume means something like a speeder). I’m guessing that the day you went there it was the “motorcar,” because the diesels and steam engines wouldn’t fit your description of a “kid’s carny ride.”

    And yes, the Skunk Train is not a “real” railroad in the sense that it’s not supported by freight or commuters, it’s supported by tourist excursions. But that’s the point — what is being proposed for Humboldt Bay would not be a “real” railroad either, it also would be a tourist train.

    A similar tourist train around Humboldt Bay might or might not attract enough riders to be self-sufficient, I don’t know. But it certainly seems to be well within the realm of possibility.

  109. July 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Good research tra. Question: do you every get tired of reading all your long posts that dominate a conversation and keep others from participating?

  110. High Finance
    July 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Then I am confused Tra, what is the train at the Trees of Mystery down by Benbow ?

  111. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm


    How am I keeping anyone else from participating?

    Sorry I’m not as concise as I should be. I’m doing my best.

  112. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm


    “Trees of Mystery” is up north. You’re thinking of “Confusion Hill,” a little bit south of Benbow, The “train” there is, indeed, a kind of “kid’s carny ride.”

    The Skunk Train is quite a different thing, and, at least at some level, it’s similar to what some folks are envisioning for a Humboldt Bay tourist train experience.

  113. tra
    July 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm


    Personally, if someone’s comment is long, and doesn’t appear interesting to me, I just scroll on by it. I’m sure some folks do that with some of mine, which is the price I pay for being too wordy sometimes.

    For my part, long but at least somewhat thoughtful comments — even the ones that don’t interest me — aren’t as annoying or pointless as the kind of short but meaningless one-liners and insult-trading matches that actually “dominate” many of these threads.

    Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  114. McKinleyvillan
    July 14, 2012 at 1:06 am

    lots of good points here, but I would like to add:

    1) Many of the people who would bicycle on 101 would do it for transportation to work etc., not exercise. It’s a flat, easy ride between Eureka and Arcata, the 2 biggest cities in the county. People in McKinleyville have great a recreational bike trail, but if you’re going further than Arcata, you have to ride on 101 or 255 to get to Eureka (Old Arcata Rd. adds a lot of miles).

    2) In Santa Cruz, people have been trying to get a tourist train going for years, but it hasn’t gotten going because the gov’t won’t subsidize a train for tourists. The feasibility study said they are almost never profitable, therefore they need gov’t subsidies to exist. There’s nothign “bad” about the idea, there’s just no money to make it happen.

    3) The Annie & Mary Trail has been held up for years by the NCRA. How long it’s taken to get that trail built is not a reflection of anything but how obstructionist NCRA is–even on a rail line that hasn’t been used for even longer than the Humboldt Bay section.

    4) The NCRA itself is a massive waste of public funding and needs to be audited. In times where the governor is cutting funding for education, state parks, etc. ad nauseum, it is an abomination that public funds are spent propping up a public railroad that has no foreseeable plans for using more than half of its rail line.

  115. Coney Island Geek
    July 14, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I was involved in some of the initial discussions of a trail from Blue Lake, to the coast, along the old railway. That was back in the ’90’s. If I remember correctly, the problem was obtaining right-of-way waivers from multiple landowners. Lots of legal issues there. I’ve moved away so I don’t know what’s happening now.

    The Skunk Train takes you through some beautiful country. It’s an all-day excursion if you do the entire round-trip from Willits to Ft. Bragg. You have the option of going half way, to beautiful Northspur, spending 45 minutes or so there, and going back to your departure point. It’s a real pleasure. I have taken a train from Eureka to Arcata. They ran one, for a very short while, back in the late ’70’s, or early ’80’s. You cannot compare the Skunk Train experience to a 20 minute ride around the mud flats of dreary Humboldt Bay. It was boring and depressing. I haven’t read the feasibility study some people here have mentioned, but if it concludes that 35,000 tourists will travel to Humboldt, every year, for a train ride around the cold and foggy bay, I can only assume that it is a work of fantasy.

    A trail would be nice to have, but please, fund it privately. Keep your hands out of other people’s pockets. We’re broke.

    What’s with the left/right BS? Let me see, I guess the rail people are the righties, because they secretly want to turn Humboldt into Detroit, and the trail people are the lefties because they want to make sure a railroad never runs anywhere, ever again. I think I’ve got it.

    This guy, Joel, his last name sounds familiar. Does he have something to do with the NCJ? If so, I must say, his posts here are rather juvenile and unprofessional. However, being familiar with the NCJ, I would expect no less.

    Anonymity is a shield against tyranny.

  116. High Finance
    July 14, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Yes, Confusion Hill is what I meantTra. I will have to find the Skunk Train & try it.

    But McKinleyvillan is right, the numbers just don’t work here unless there is a huge taxpayer subsidy.

  117. firesidechet
    July 14, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Better figure out what impact the hobos will have as well. You can expect them (and thrill seekers) to be jumping on and off the train, if there ever is one, killing themselves in the process. What about lighting at night ? That won’t be free. There will definitely need to be a police presence no matter what happens.

  118. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Anyone who has read the tourist train feasibility study knows it will take more than basic subsidies to make it sustainable.

  119. Joel Mielke
    July 14, 2012 at 9:29 am

    “A trail would be nice to have, but please, fund it privately.”
    Right, like the county’s streets and parks?

  120. McKinleyvillan
    July 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

    yes, let’s fund Highway 101 privately. OR–we could make everyone pay for it but then only make it safe for those of us with cars. Oh wait, that’s what we are doing now…

  121. 713
    July 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Fuel taxes pay for most of the roads. Even if you don’t have a car, you are benefiting from highway 101. A tax on bikes would be a good way to get money for the trails.

  122. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Or getting more divers riding bikes and bikes off the highway will make more room and safety for drivers? That is what study after study suggests and is the reason why transportation funds are spent on such infrastructure, and public transit.

  123. HumBiz
    July 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Coney Island hit it right “multiple right of way waivers” from multiple landowners will be required for a trail or rail banking to happen. Good luck getting folks like PG&E to just sign those away to you.

  124. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    This was required for the Hammond as well as many other trails. There is much experience with this locally. Not impossible at all.

  125. July 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm


  126. Pitchfork
    July 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    It’s time for the Rail-cultist to be marginalize as they deserve. Let’s move the greater community forward.

  127. tra
    July 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    When arguing for the rail to be removed and the trail paved over the railbed, trail advocates make the argument that putting the trail alongside the rail is just way too difficult and expensive, and that therefore only way the trail can be built is if we just remove the rails entirely, and then pave the trail directly over where the rails are now.

    But when asked “hey, but won’t that be a barrier to restoring rail service at some future point,” suddenly the claim shifts dramatically in the opposite direction, and we are reassured that it would be really cheap and easy to just re-locate the trail alongside the track if we wanted to in the future.

    Which of course raises the question: If it’s so cheap and easy to re-locate the trail off to the side, why not just locate it there in the first place? At which point the trail advocates revert back to the first claim, that doing so would be utterly impractical and unaffordable.

    I have not heard any explanation of why it’s so difficult and unaffordable to build the trail off to the side from the get-go, yet it supposedly would become cheap and easy to move it off to the side in the future if that is needed.

    Can anyone explain that?

  128. grackle
    July 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Like many issues here abouts there seems to be more heat than light. After reading most of these comments as well as those on the NCJ and LCO sites all that is certain is that the various partisans are distrustful of those on the other side. How many easements are there around the bay? No facts have appeared about that nor about who the underlying owners are.

    Also, the trail people, who I’m sure are good and kind and sincere as all get out, nevertheless come across as if they were entitled to the rail bed even though it doesn’t appear to be in the public domain. It’s just a matter of, “I’ll have that. Why? Because I want it. Why should I have to pay for it? I just want it.” Curious.

  129. steak n eggs
    July 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Haha, the ever pervasive snobbery of the elitist progs. Cannot come to grips that there are other opinions besides their own.

  130. 713
    July 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Usually if you disagree you clearly don’t understand the situation. Either that or you are on somebody’s payroll.

  131. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    The rail line was purchased with public money, managed by a public agency, so excuse the public for being so miss-led that it might have a say what happens it.

  132. July 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Solano County built their own rail line with local labor . they restored period cars and engines and ran them on railway they laid,

  133. 713
    July 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Remind me 6:56, what was it purchased for with public money?

  134. HumBiz
    July 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I am sure there are some cases where portions of the line is owned by the rail, but there are significant stretches owned by private individuals and companies. On those stretches the rail authority had an easement to operate a rail line and in most cases nothing beyond a rail line. Until such time as all of those landowners are brought on board through persuasion or compensation the prospects for a trail anytime soon looks bleak.

  135. tra
    July 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    In a comment thread on the NCJ blog, Judy Hodgeson said that for the Arcata-Eureka section, the great majority of the railroad easement is across publicly-owned land. She said that she believes, based on her research, that there are really only two private owners with land underlying the easement along that stretch. And, according to Hodgeson, both of them are supportive of the trail idea. I don’t know whether all of that is accurate or not, but that’s the argument that is being made.

  136. Anonymous
    July 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Judy is correct. Also, like the Hammond trail, easements can be negotiated.

  137. tra
    July 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    It was pointed out on the NCJ blog that correct term for me to use is “right of way,” and that it’s when the right of way crosses private land that a private landowner would be called upon to grant an easement to allow for the use of this right of way as a trail. So, replace the word “easement” in my 3:38 comment with the phrase “right of way.” But I think the same point remains — if there are only a couple of private landowners along that stretch, and they are already O.K. with the idea of using the right of way for a trail, then it seems like getting those folks to agree to an easement should not be that big of a barrier.

    I’d be interested in hearing who those private landowners are, as well as hearing what public entities own the property underlying the right of way along the rest of the stretch. I’m assuming that the City of Arcata owns the land over at their end. And then perhaps the wildlife refuge (is that state or federal?) has some in the middle? Does the City of Eureka own some of the land at their end? I assume that the Arcata City Council would jump at the opportunity to support the trail, and I don’t know who the decision-making body would be for the wildlife refuge, but I think the assumption is that a trail would be a compatible use there (perhaps with fencing to prevent people from straying into the wildlife refuge?). But if the City of Eureka owns some of the land at their end, I can see how the trail issue might become a real political football at the City Council level.

  138. back in the saddle
    July 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Let us try to keep this discussion civil. That way maybe someone can learn some new instead of learning that someone you don’t agree with is an asshole. Be an adult. Got that out of the way – – so, how many bicyclists have been killed or injured on US 101 between Arcata & Eureka as in ever? Any one have a figure? Note: I ride a bike for recreation, not to work as I would be all sweaty and need a shower and a change of clothes. The railroad line between the two cities is actually a dyke if one thinks of ice caps melting and sea levels rising, shich is going to happen at some point. God help us if the Greenland ice mass thaws. And just in passing – I like Portland, great city, great for bicycling. I do not go to Portland for the bike trails. Maybe it would be fun, but there is plenty else to do. So you think tourists would come to Humboldt just to bike around the Bay? Maybe Avenue of the Giants. Discuss.

  139. Joel Mielke
    July 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks for the clarifications, TRA. The trail is a real possibility with sufficient political pressure.

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