County government looks just about set to start building what will eventually be a 27-mile network of public hiking, biking and equestrian trails in the McKay Tract — that big chunk of Green Diamond land on the outskirts of Eureka that the county acquired back in 2014.
People have been hiking the beautiful property — now a community-owned working forest — in a semi-illicit fashion for decades, but today the county released its draft master plan to officially open the area for public access.
It’s an ambitious plan! If and when the network is completely built, new trails will extend from near the shores of Humboldt Bay in Myrtletown — not too far from the eastern terminus of the Eureka Waterfront Trail, actually — all the way to deep Ridgewood, with stops at Redwood Acres, Harris Street, Redwood Fields in Cutten, Winship Middle School and elsewhere.
The full plan is 142 pages long and includes many maps, charts and graphs. Find it (in PDF form) at this link. The county will be taking comments throughout the month of February. See details below.
From the County of Humboldt:
The Humboldt County Public Works today released the draft McKay Community Forest Trail Plan for public review. The purpose of the Trail Plan is to provide a blueprint for the development of trails, access points, and amenities to support recreational and educational activities within the Community Forest, located southeast of Eureka. The Trail Plan proposes a trail network with 27 miles of multi-use roads, multi-use trails, hiking trails, and mountain bike trails.
The draft plan is available on the county’s website.
The Trail Plan describes the overall goals, objectives, guiding principles, design standards, and construction practices for building sustainable trails to support outstanding outdoor experiences for a diversity of trail users. Sustainable trails support recreational use while preserving the integrity of the landscape and holding their form over time with limited maintenance. The six guiding principles in the Trail Plan are connectivity, integration, stewardship, accessibility, safety, and aesthetics.
A parking area was constructed in Cutten along Northridge Road in 2018 to provide dedicated access to the Community Forest. Final inspection of the Northridge Access Point for compliance with accessibility requirements is pending. Additional access points will be located along Harris Street and within Redwood Acres. Access points are expected to be developed near Redwood Fields, Manzanita Avenue, and Walnut Drive within 2 to 5 years as large parcels are permitted for subdivision.
The Trail Plan was prepared with an emphasis on accommodating users with accessibility needs to the greatest possible extent. The proposed trail network includes 1.5 miles of trails that fully meet the technical standards for accessible trails, and 0.7 miles of trails that meet most, but not all, the technical standards due to topographic constraints.
Trails will be developed incrementally in a logical sequence over the course of several years. The first trails to be built and opened to the public will be located near Northridge Road, Harris Street, and Redwood Acres. The timeframe for trail development will depend on available funding and working through the applicable permitting processes. Trail construction will depend heavily on the California Conservation Corps and the Volunteer Trail Stewards program of the Humboldt Trails Council.
Comments on the draft plan can be submitted by 5 pm, March 1, 2019, to Hank Seemann via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hard-copy (Humboldt County Public Works, 1106 Second Street, Eureka, CA, 95501).