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A vision that started 20 years ago is finally turning into reality. The long-awaited Humboldt Bay Trail North, which will eventually end-up connecting Arcata to Eureka for non-motorized uses, is now underway. In this LoCO Video Report we show you where the three-mile trail is going to span, take you to the city’s groundbreaking ceremony and talk to some of those involved with the effort.
It was all smiles and excitement as dozens showed up on foot, bicycles and with their furry friends to celebrate the commence of trail construction, a trail that will one day serve as a lifeline and opportunity.
The trail will start at State Route 255 where the Arcata Rails with Trail ends. Then it will continue south through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and down along the North Coast Railroad Authority’s right-of-way, bypassing all potentially dangerous interactions with motor vehicles along Highway 101. Plus the trail will open up coastal access to Humboldt Bay.
“It will add social benefits, economic benefits, and environmental benefits,” said Arcata’s Mayor, Susan Ornelas. “People will be able to be out and fall in love with the bay and want to care for it more. So it’s really an asset to our community.”
This portion of trail will end around Bracut. But over the next few years it will link to Eureka’s series of trails. Eureka most recently completed the Waterfront Trail, which stops at Del Norte Street, but they city is already working on its next trail installment, which is running along Waterfront Drive.
The City of Arcata has contracted local business McCullough Construction for the project. And although the city is being sued by Mercer Fraser — which believes they should have been awarded the construction bid — things are moving forward with McCullough since a judge denied Mercer Fraser’s requests of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
When it’s all said and done, Humboldt will have a megatrail, spanning 13 miles and titled the Humboldt Bay Trail. It was established several years back as the regions number one transportation priority.
Then in the larger scheme of things, it will provide a missing puzzle piece to the overall California Coastal Trail, which is meant to run along the entire California coast from Oregon to Mexico. Per the Coastal Act of 1976, local jurisdictions were required to get on board with the plan, however it’s been quite the process and is now just halfway complete.
The city received various funding for planning and environmental leading up to the project, and then funding for the trail itself came from the Caltrans active transportation program, Caltrans SHOPP, the California Coastal Conservancy and the city’s Measure G, totaling a little over $5 million.
If the project stays on track, you could be running, bicycling, rollerblading, scootering, or even riding a horse, or painting a picture of the bay, all on the new trail by the end of this year.