Call-To-Action & Trail News - May 2019
Take Action Today
Help us support a funding request for the Great Redwood Trail!
Senator McGuire has a large budget request for SB1029 sitting in front of the Senate Budget Committee right now. This coming week it needs as much support as possible from individuals and groups. Please write a letter (or letters) today in support of funding for this bill that will help make the Great Redwood Trail a reality.
Senate Bill 1029 became law January 1, 2019. The bill will dissolve the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and start the process of preserving the 300-mile public transportation right-of-way extending from Humboldt Bay to San Francisco Bay as the Great Redwood Trail.
Senator McGuire is asking for a total of 10.8 million from the Fiscal Year 2019/20 budget that will be resolved over the next couple of weeks. These funds would be used to pay off the legal settlement between the North Coast Railroad Authority and the Friends of the Eel River (FOER) and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CAT), to pay off the RIFF loan to the federal government, to give NCRA some operating funds for repairs and railbanking, to pay off the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWPCo) loan/interest, and to give the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) $2 million to manage the line. SMART will only receive that money if they are successful in buying out NWPCo. All of the debts will be vetted by the Departments of Finance and Transportation. This budget request will free up the funds to be available. When that is done, the railbanking process can continue, and a start can be made on the trail.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
Send letters to the following Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Holly Mitchell, (Chair, Senate Budget Committee), and Assemblyman Phil Ting (Chair, Assembly Budget Committee) requesting funding support as soon as you can. You can also
send one letter to all three. If possible, scan the letter(s) and send them to Jason.Liles@sen.ca.gov. The letter copies will be walked to all the offices.
The letters can be short and sweet, but please make it your own, and add something about why it is important to dissolve the NCRA as soon as possible. Please put “NCRA Funding” at the top of any letter.
Please forward this request to anyone else who can send in a letter of support.
Here's an example (template):
May 21, 2019
Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: FY 2019/20 NCRA Funding – SUPPORT
I am an avid trail user in Humboldt County and look forward to the day that I can travel between my local communities by (foot, bike) along the Great Redwood Trail. I strongly support Senator Mike McGuire’s budget request for $10.8 million that is in the current budget negotiations for the coming year to help pay down, and dissolve the North Coast Railroad Authority. Last year’s SB 1029 set the stage for solving these decades old problem. Advancing these funds will help get the job done as quickly and inexpensively as possible. The longer this sits unresolved, the more it will cost the public. Please support this NCRA funding to help our local communities and our environment.
cc: The Honorable Senator Mike McGuire
Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Senator Holly Mitchell, Chair
Senate Budget Committee
State Capitol, Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814
Assemblyman Phil Ting, Chair
Assembly Budget Committee
State Capitol, Room 6026
Sacramento, California 95814
Thank you for all your efforts.
Article by Rees Highes, published 5/9/19 in Times Standard
My Word: Exciting developments
from the Humboldt Trails Summit
On May 4, 2019 the third Humboldt Trails Summit was attended by over 225 people on the Humboldt State University campus. The Sunday Times-Standard reported on state Sen. Mike McGuire’s town hall meeting about efforts to transform the deteriorated and unused railroad right-of-way into the Great Redwood Trail. While this is a very important development, the rest of the story occurred during the first half of the trails summit, during which Hank Seemann, Deputy Director of Humboldt County Public Works shared a number of exciting developments on the local trails scene and non-profits related to trails; local city representatives and other government agencies staffed tables and shared trail updates during an open house. Here is some of the news:
Humboldt Bay Trail: $13.3 million in construction funds were recently awarded from the State’s Active Transportation Program to complete the remaining four miles of the 14-mile Humboldt Bay Trail. This complicated stretch of trail lies between the Eureka Slough and Bracut. The county will install a special product on the Eureka Slough railroad bridge designed to allow access for walkers, cyclists, and Timber Heritage Association speeders. The county is working through right-of-way, final design, and permitting with a goal to break ground in 2021. Seemann also reported that the community has raised nearly $300,000 for the Humboldt Bay Trail Fund (with a goal of $500,000 by the end of 2020).
The McKay Community Forest Trails: The Trail Plan for the McKay Community Forest is nearing finalization. The draft plan includes 27 miles of multi-use roads and dedicated hiking and mountain bike trails. A parking area has been constructed in Cutten along Northridge Road that should open soon and the California Conservation Corps has started preliminary site work to support upcoming trail building.
Trails South of Eureka: The City of Eureka has secured construction funds to extend the Hikshari’ Trail 1.3 miles south across the Elk River along the existing railroad corridor to a new trailhead at the Spruce Point exit to Humboldt Hill. This project will advance progress toward the goal of linking Eureka, King Salmon, Humboldt Hill, Fields Landing, and College of the Redwoods with facilities for safe walking and cycling.
Annie and Mary Trail in Arcata and Blue Lake: Blue Lake will construct a half-mile segment of the Annie and Mary Trail along Railroad Avenue to Chartin Road this summer. Arcata has begun the planning process to extend a multi-modal trail north from Sunset Avenue to Aldergrove Industrial Park and Valley West, and potentially connecting to Mad River Pump Station No. 1.
Highway 255 Trail in Manila: This half-mile mile trail on the northwest side of Highway 255 in Manila extends from Pacific Avenue to Carlson Road and is scheduled for construction in 2020. There will be an extension to the Friends of the Dunes Nature Center property.
Trails in Fortuna: One of the inspirational stories from the summit was the recent ribbon cutting for a 0.7-mile gravel trail along the railroad corridor north of Fortuna in honor of long-time Fortuna community booster Dennis Wendt. Sean Swanson and the River Life Foundation have worked tirelessly to clear the area along the Eel River of illegal encampments and to support people so they can re-connect with family and find employment. Fortuna continues to advance the proposed John Campbell Memorial Greenway and Strong’s Creek Trail.
Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association/Green Diamond Resource Company Collaboration: RCMBA volunteers, in accordance with a recreational use agreement, are working diligently to construct some outstanding mountain bike trails on Green Diamond property south of Blue Lake.
Bay to Zoo Trail: The city of Eureka continues to work toward the vision for a Bay to Sequoia Park Zoo Trail.
That’s not all. The Arcata Ridge Trail continues to take shape. The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust, Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, and Redwood National Park continue to expand and enhance their trail systems. These are busy and exciting times for trails on the North Coast. While the legislation to create the Great Redwood Trail from Humboldt to Marin County is a wonderful development, we also want to highlight the local projects already in progress.
Deputy Director Seemann spoke about the many benefits of trails and how trails can connect our communities and connect people to our natural assets like Humboldt Bay. Trails are most successful with broad community involvement. Consider volunteering as a trail steward or giving money to support the Humboldt Bay Trail Fund or, most importantly, get out there and use our trails!
Thank you, Trail Summit committee members for your effort and success: Rees Hughes, Carol Vander Meer, Roger James, Keenan Hilton, Mary Elise Conzelman, Emily Sinkhorn, Jason Caria, Oona Smith, Dennis Rael - Bay Trail Fund Working Group and Trails Summit Organizing Committee; Karen Underwood and Bruce Silvey, Trails Summit Organizing Committee and Humboldt Trails Council.
Retired Senior Volunteer Program
After 39 years of sponsorship, the Area 1 Agency on Aging (A1AA) has ended the 46 year old Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for fiscal reasons. For six years, RSVP supported Volunteer Trail Stewards aged 55 years or better with benefits such as mileage reimbursement, volunteer insurance, recognition for members and publicity for participating volunteer "stations."
RSVP started in 1973 with a Federal Action Agency grant for $40,000 written by John Woolley of the Center for Community Development, and co-sponsored by the Humboldt State College Foundation. The first RSVP office opened on the HSU campus with a staff of five. By 1980, RSVP had approximately 500 active volunteers.
The Area 1 Agency on Aging was established in 1980 to locally administer Older Americans Act funding and accepted sponsorship of RSVP from HSU that same year. In 1994 the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods began at A1AA, expanding volunteer opportunities through the agency to people of all ages.
Over the years, the federal government changed the service focus for RSVP volunteer stations. In 2013, under Maureen McGarry's guidance, RSVP added the Volunteer Trail Stewards, Potawot Community Garden, and SCRAP Humboldt as volunteer stations. In 2015, Maureen produced a 10-minute video on Environmental Stewardship that was presented at the Washington DC National Service Conference. For three years Humboldt/Del Norte became the only RSVP in the country with the primary focus of Environmental Stewardship, adding the Northcoast Regional Land Trust and Tolowa Dune Stewards as volunteer stations.
We salute Area 1 Agency on Aging and RSVP for the support of actively involved seniors in our region and we thank Maureen for her years of work to support the Trail Stewards and many other volunteer programs integral to the health and welfare of both community and environment on the North Coast.
Seniors will continue to volunteer for our environment and the many other local nonprofits who improve and enhance life on the North Coast. A1AA will continue to support its 100+ volunteers and others who, through the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods, want to make a positive difference in the lives of seniors and their ability to live and thrive safely and independently.