Beloved former First District Humboldt County Supervisor Jimmy Smith looked surprised and a bit bewildered this morning as he climbed out of Supervisor Rex Bohn’s truck in Fields Landing to find a crowd of roughly 100 people there waiting for him.
Fishermen, officials and even a U.S. congressman — Mike Thompson, who represented the North Coast from 1999 through 2013 — had gathered to rechristen the Fields Landing boat launch facility in Smith’s name. All five Humboldt County supervisors were in attendance along with current and former county employees, members of the Eureka City Council and various other family and friends from Smith’s 11-plus years as a county supervisor.
As Bohn and others mention in the video above, the renaming won’t be official until the Board of Supervisors approve the decision next Tuesday. If the move seems presumptuous, well, you’re probably underestimating the community’s love for Jimmy.
Here’s a press release from the county:
Former 1st District Supervisor Jimmy Smith was honored today for his work on the Fields Landing boat launching facility, and pending an official action next week by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, will have the facility named after him.
Smith, who served as a Humboldt County supervisor from January 2001 to August 2012, was instrumental over the last 20 years in building partnerships and securing funding for improvement projects at the launching facility, which serves as the primary boating access to the southern portion of Humboldt Bay. Some of the improvements include a new boat ramp, improved lighting, a tsunami siren, increased parking and new floating docks. The facility is open to the public and benefits a variety of users including sport fishermen, clammers, crabbers, waterfowl hunters, canoeists, kayakers and birdwatchers.
A former commercial fisherman and wildlife biologist, Smith was dedicated during his career to the conservation of natural resources and the public’s use and enjoyment of those resources. Smith championed many large projects and initiatives for the benefit of natural areas, working landscapes, and fish and wildlife. He performed significant work on Humboldt Bay, Salt River, Eel River, Trinity River, Klamath River and marine fisheries.
One of Smith’s major accomplishments during his career was anchoring the diverse County, State, and Federal team that achieved the clean-up, public acquisition, re-opening, enhanced protection, and ongoing effective management of the land located directly across the bay from Fields Landing, now known as the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay.
Known for his unique ability to bring people together to build trust and goodwill, bridge differences and solve problems, Smith was a primary visionary and co-founder of the seven-county North Coast Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (now the North Coast Resource Partnership) and the Five-Counties Salmonid Conservation Program.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will take up an item during their meeting on Nov. 4 to officially name the facility as the Jimmy Smith Fields Landing Boat Launching Facility.