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Plans in the works for a "Great Redwood Trail" from Willits to Eureka

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Plans in the works for a "Great Redwood Trail" from Willits to Eureka

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Old 04-25-18, 08:46 AM
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shotwellian
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Plans in the works for a "Great Redwood Trail" from Willits to Eureka

This is probably a long way off, but I think even the idea is really exciting:

Senator McGuire?s Great Redwood Trail Approved in Senate Committee ? Redheaded Blackbelt

Some background: There's a railroad route from the Bay Area to Eureka. It carried passengers until the '50s and then freight for a while longer but has been out of commission due to storm damage for several decades now. The public agency that owns it has been trying to find an economically viable way to restore freight service, but now State Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg has proposed legislation that would transfer the section from Willits to Eureka to a new authority that would instead be tasked with transforming it into a bike trail.

On its way to Humboldt, the railroad passes through the Eel River canyon, which is so remote that there aren't even any public roads. So as a trail, this would mean cyclists could visit a part of the state that otherwise is totally inaccessible to anyone. Some photos from a brave soul who hiked the abandoned railroad here.

Farther north, the tracks parallel 101 in Humboldt and a trail along them could connect the various side routes and let bicyclists ride through Humboldt without getting on and off 101 all the time.
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Old 04-25-18, 11:16 AM
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That would be really cool.

Although being completely inaccessible means there's no cops or ambulances for assistance... I get nervous about that kind of stuff these days.
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Old 04-25-18, 12:37 PM
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shotwellian
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That's true that inaccessibility poses certain risks, and anyone riding through the Eel Canyon would want to take first aid, extra supplies, etc, but all remote wilderness trails, in CA and elsewhere, have the same issue.
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Old 04-25-18, 11:22 PM
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I'd like to join, but I think it's above my level haha. On another note, I received my national and state licensure EMT. now it's just figuring out everything I need for my rides.
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Old 04-26-18, 02:41 PM
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That would be really cool....like a cyclists' version of the Lost Coast. My only concern in that part of the state (aside from the lack of facilities) would be running through/into remote grow sites which are undoubtedly common up there.
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Old 04-27-18, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by poonkorama View Post
That would be really cool....like a cyclists' version of the Lost Coast. My only concern in that part of the state (aside from the lack of facilities) would be running through/into remote grow sites which are undoubtedly common up there.
Now you've confused me. I cycle the Lost Coast regularly (it's on the way from my current home to my former home town full of relatives). I've always thought of the Lost Coast as the best part of that 750 mile ride. Sometimes I do mostly pavement, sometimes I stay on the unpaved roads (can't avoid Usul Rd, though, which is a pleasantly deserted 24 miles of dirt). In other words, the Lost Coast is a cyclists' version of the Lost Coast (not counting that little strip of tick-infested wilderness that's in the Lost Coast).
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Old 04-28-18, 03:22 AM
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Just do it already....

Like this https://www.mundabiddi.org.au/
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Old 04-28-18, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Now you've confused me. I cycle the Lost Coast regularly (it's on the way from my current home to my former home town full of relatives). I've always thought of the Lost Coast as the best part of that 750 mile ride. Sometimes I do mostly pavement, sometimes I stay on the unpaved roads (can't avoid Usul Rd, though, which is a pleasantly deserted 24 miles of dirt). In other words, the Lost Coast is a cyclists' version of the Lost Coast (not counting that little strip of tick-infested wilderness that's in the Lost Coast).
Sorry for the confusion. I only meant it as a broad analogy of a remote and mostly non-car-dominated way of getting through the northern counties. Didn't mean the literal Lost Coast.
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Old 05-09-18, 08:12 AM
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Sounds like a rails to trails project.
It also reminds me of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail outside of Seattle that runs 300 miles across the state of Washington. (tried to post links, but I can't until I have 10 posts, haha)

Great idea!
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Old 05-09-18, 08:19 AM
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Friends of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail - Friends of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail
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Old 05-09-18, 11:41 AM
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This would be really cool, except it will probably not happen in our lifetimes, if ever, due to the BANANA problem in California - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. It will hit the CEQA wall and be stopped dead.
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Old 05-09-18, 01:10 PM
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CEQA will be an issue, but two things make me optimistic: a lot of the trail is way the heck out in the middle of nowhere rather than near anybody who might complain. And the environmental groups on the north coast have so far been supporting the idea because they were against restoration of freight rail service.
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Old 05-09-18, 04:08 PM
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I'm a member of the Humboldt Trails Council, and we wrote a letter of support, but speaking as a private citizen, HOT DANG! I may have squeed out loud when I first heard about this. Many, many people here in Humboldt have wanted this for many years. Here's a 20 or so minute radio show interview with Mike McGuire. Fortunately the North Coast Railroad Authority has finally acknowledged reality, and is cooperating with railbanking efforts after two decades of resistance and denial. Being up to their eyeballs in debt with no way out probably helped. As well as their own geologists laughing in their faces at the idea of going through the Eel River canyon.

As for the pot growers, there's no telling what will have changed by the time the Great Redwood Trail goes through. Everything is in upheaval now the state has legalized it.

ETA: @shotwellian , thanks for the link to the hiking blog; that was pretty awesome.
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Old 05-11-18, 08:49 AM
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shotwellian
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@Korina , Thanks for your perspective as a local!

The challenges of the Eel Canyon that ultimately defeated the attempts to reopen the railroad will probably also mean that part of the trail won't be finished for decades, if ever. But even if the trail were only built through the more geologically gentle areas between, say, Eureka and Alderpoint (no major tunnels or trestles there), it would still be wonderful to be able to ride through that part of Humboldt without getting on and off 101 all the time. This trail will also connect right to the Humboldt Bay Trail at the south end of Eureka, which will be fantastic.

Last edited by shotwellian; 05-11-18 at 08:50 AM. Reason: adding something
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Old 05-11-18, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by shotwellian View Post
@Korina , Thanks for your perspective as a local!

The challenges of the Eel Canyon that ultimately defeated the attempts to reopen the railroad will probably also mean that part of the trail won't be finished for decades, if ever. But even if the trail were only built through the more geologically gentle areas between, say, Eureka and Alderpoint (no major tunnels or trestles there), it would still be wonderful to be able to ride through that part of Humboldt without getting on and off 101 all the time. This trail will also connect right to the Humboldt Bay Trail at the south end of Eureka, which will be fantastic.
Good point about geology; hopefully they'll be able to find better routes as necessary. Also, Eureka is actively planning to extend the Waterfront Trail south to King Salmon on its way to College of the Redwoods. So cool.
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Old 05-24-18, 04:10 PM
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@shotwellian , thanks again for that blog link; I passed it along to the rest of the Trails Council and everyone loved it.
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Old 05-25-18, 01:08 PM
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Glad the group enjoyed the post!

Also, since you clearly know the biking situation in that area, I have a slightly off-topic question: My wife and I are planning a tour this summer, and we'll be riding into Arcata from Highway 96. Since it looks like 299 isn't that great to ride on, I've been looking at ways to get off the highway. It seems there's an abandoned "old 299" that goes west from Lord Ellis Summit most of the way down to Blue Lake. Do you happen to know anything about that route?
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Old 05-25-18, 09:24 PM
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The bill was set for hearing today. Anyone know what happened?
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01720180SB1029
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Old 05-28-18, 03:41 PM
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Those pot farms will become tourist attractions with roadside "bakeries" lol.
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Old 06-01-18, 10:05 AM
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Update: The bill was unanimously approved by the State Senate. Now on to the Assembly:

Great Redwood Trail bill unanimously approved by California Senate

This article also clarifies that the plan also, in theory anyway, provides for trail south from Willits to the Bay Area. The tracks south of Willits would be transferred to the Bay Area's SMART train agency, which would be tasked with building that part of the trail while keeping the tracks intact (rail with trail). North of Willits, the plan seems to be to remove the tracks (rail to trail).
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Old 07-06-18, 02:18 PM
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Hi all. This was adapted from an email by Mike Wilson, Humboldt County Supervisor. Please, please call. Time is running out.

We need your support to help move SB 1029 forward! A decision on this will be made soon. It is important to have our voice heard ASAP.Calls to the office of Governor Edmund G. Brown will be the most effective. His office will no longer accept emails. Phone: (916) 445-2841

The simplest message is: “Please support funding forconverting the NCRA to the Great Redwood Trail, SB 1029!”

Here are some talking points regarding SB 1029, the Great Redwood Trail Act. Please feel free to add anything personal about the vison of the Trail or the bill.

I’m calling/writing from Humboldt County (or your place) to ask the Governor to support funding for Sen. McGuire’s SB 1029 - the bill that replaces the North Coast Railroad Authority with a 300 mile trail.

NCRA will be bankrupt in a couple months, and we don’t want to lose this opportunity to create something positive after 30 years of turmoil and failure.

We are asking the Governor to help find the funding needed to buy out the NCRA debts, and the freight contract, so we can build the trail.

It’s urgent that we find the money and pass the bill this year, since it’s the first time in 30 years that all the battling parties are at the table. It will only cost more money next year, and the parties could be different and not want to settle.
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Old 08-18-18, 12:42 PM
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I'm unfamiliar with the whole process, but it looks like SB 1029 passed the appropriations committee on Thursday;

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01720180SB1029

And that has to be a good thing, and mean that the bill is rolling along at the correct pace, right? It's been voted on 7 times, and is yet to get a No from anyone. I should qualify this by saying I'd never heard of this trail or anything associated with it until stumbling across this thread last night.
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Old 09-16-18, 11:43 AM
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shotwellian
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If you're interested, check out my article on the Great Redwood Trail in today's SF Chronicle:

https://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/a...o-13226917.php
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Old 09-16-18, 06:45 PM
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Great article! Enjoyable read this morning in my Sunday paper.
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Old 09-17-18, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by shotwellian View Post
If you're interested, check out my article on the Great Redwood Trail in today's SF Chronicle:

https://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/a...o-13226917.php
Thanks for a great section of the Chron. Informative/ realistic/ humorous articles!

-D
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