Senator McGuire’s Great Redwood Trail Approved in Senate Committee

This is a press release from Senator Mike McGuire:

Mike McGuire

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire’s bill that will create the Great Redwood Trail from the San Francisco Bay to the Humboldt Bay is one step closer to reality this week after it was approved with a unanimous, bipartisan 12-0 vote in the Senate Transportation and Housing committee last week.

“From the San Francisco Bay, through the incredible beauty of wine country, into the stunning old growth Redwood forests, alongside the glistening banks of the Russian and Eel Rivers, and up to and around panoramic Humboldt Bay – this is truly an incredible piece of earth. And SB 1029 sets the stage to turn this over 300 mile long beleaguered train track into a stunning, world renowned trail that will benefit locals and visitors alike and be a boon to rural community economies,” Senator Mike McGuire said.

The Great Redwood Trail will be a significant economic driver for the rural North Coast communities it would wind through. California outdoor recreation is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Golden State’s economy. It generates over $92 billion a year here in California, is responsible for nearly 700,000 jobs with over $30 billion in wages, and brings over $6 billion in tax revenues back to state and local communities. The trail will attract hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike to hike this spectacular landscape and inject needed funds into the small, rural economies that would neighbor the potential future trail.

“There are areas of this line that have barely had any human eyes on it in 20 years – the incredible Eel River Canyon will be the crown jewel of this trail, as it parallels the Eel River through wilderness and wonder and breaks out into the redwoods of Humboldt County,” Senator McGuire said. “The Great Redwood Trail will wind through these scenic landscapes and connect folks with ancient redwoods, state parks and numerous local trails.”

The North Coast Rail Authority will be dissolved through SB 1029, and the 300 mile long right-of-way will be segmented roughly at the halfway point. The Northern Segment – from Arcata to Willits – will be temporarily transferred to the state Department of Transportation, who is charged with beginning the “railbanking” process, cataloging property easements and advancing environmental work. The Great Redwood Trail Agency would then take over to start building the actual trail. The legislation supports freight where it is currently existing and supports rail around Humboldt Bay.

While there are years of planning, community meetings and work ahead, the Great Redwood Trail is gaining momentum. SB 1029 will next be heard in the Senate Natural Resources Committee at the end of April.

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28 comments

  • Great news! This will make acquiring the rights to establish the old growth corridor through rainbow ridge to the kings range even more of a no brainer!

    • Elkhorn Wilderness

      What about the wildlife corridor from Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness to the Sinkyone? Just needs an easement through some of that Redwood Forest Foundation land. Then we’d have linkage between Cahto Ridge through the South Fork headwaters to Red Mountain on out to Sinkyone and the Kings Range. Is anybody even on that?

  • >”The North Coast Rail Authority will be dissolved through SB 1029, and the 300 mile long right-of-way will be segmented roughly at the halfway point”

    Long overdue.

    >”… and supports rail around Humboldt Bay.”

    Now that is a big mistake.

    >”… inject needed funds into the small, rural economies that would neighbor the potential future trail.”

    Yeah… that be a big economic lift for Alderpoint ! (Only Joking).

  • Does anyone know if there is any usable flattish land in the railroad right of way going though the Eel River Valley?

  • Why stop in Humboldt….the trees go all the way to the Oregon border & beyond?

    • 2 reasons. The rail line pretty much ends in Humboldt -and- that is where the welfare office is located. This will be a bum conduit from Bay Area to Shangri-La.

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Another reason is that while The redwoods on Smith River are spectacular, they start to thin out and reduce in size rather quickly as you move north of the Cali. Border. Dr. Strong is strong on naysaying negativity, but civilization and human progress struggle forward anyway. This trail is a great idea and will provide a showcase for our spectacular coast ranges and redwoods much like the PCT does for the Sierra and Cascade ranges along with local economic benefits. Criminals, sociopaths and indolent bums are everywhere, but will mostly take the easy hitching and begging and rip-off routes up 101 or I-5 just like always.

  • Who is going to hike through cartel land miles away from any road or cell service? A trail near 101 would make sense, this will just transfer the costs and liabilities for the land from the defunct railway to local taxpayers.

    Invest in fixing our roads, freight rail across the state, and modernizing our ports and airports. Trails are nice but reality needs to come first.

    • umm, maybe you should ask the people who hike the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail.

      • You mean those large trails through state and national parks which frequently cross with other trails and roads and don’t pass through dangerous drug-growing areas?

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      “Cartel land”? Thank you local Fox News affiliate for our daily hallucination. Wow, impressive. Ask people who hike the Appalachian Trail.

      • Are you seriously suggesting the Eel river valley is a safe area devoid of organized crime and drug cultivation?

        The AT goes through parks, large towns, and has campsites, oftenwith developed shelters and bathrooms, and a large support crew which mantain it and assist hikers. You think this trail from “somewhere near willits” to “somewhere near Eureka” is going to get the same traffic or support?

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      But Trump and the Republicans just gave tons of money to the richest people in America through a massive tax cut which added over a $trillion to the national debt. Peons got a few dollars in cuts, but those will end in a few years while the rich cuts go on forever unless the mid-term vote throws the bums out.

      See, now there’s no money for health care or infrastructure or any nasty “teeming masses” crap. Or stupid parks and trails. Too bad! So sad. The Republican agenda is on track.

      “Reality needs to come first.” Riiiiiiiiiiiight! Yup. OK, dude.

      • Trumpactually raised the NPS budget in his first term. And the US has been operating on deficits for 20 years. And this is a state project so literally none of that is relevent.

        Money going to this trail is money not going to schools, mental health services, road safery improvements, utility repairs… are all those worth less to you than a trail through a remote valley with a well known crime problem?

    • Veterans friend

      Now that cannabis is selling for $500 per lb the cartels are history

    • THAT is exactly what SB 1 is doing! separate things and we don’t have to settle for less. It’s not either – or.

  • I own property just off the right of way. It is my neighbor.

    Who is going to pick up garbage and prevent city folks from starting fires and burning up my property.

    I have witnessed too many city folks/tourists with complete disregard for fire safety up here.

    I like the idea of a trail sytem, but I have to be honest, this scares the bejesus out of me.

    • We know the trains never started any fires don’t we! Never polluted the streams or the river.

      • The rail went out of business because of the debt from paying out damages for those fires and spills. Who’s going to be liable for the damages caused by hikers?

  • Totally support this as the rr line is rapidly deteriorating and the NCRA truly had no plan to address the majority of the line. Question I have is will there be funds for the environmental clearance work, design, construction and mitigation work that will have to occur? If no $$ then no true trail. Does anyone know if funding is being allocated for this?

  • who is going to clean up the feces and garbage and pay for this and the constant maintainence that will be required? why not fix our hiways instead. i just got my new vehicle registration fees. 350 for an eight year old car and a big gas tax hike on top of that, while McGuire and Huffman go la-la on trails for the city folk and moonbeams hispeed train. get ready for a trail tax!

  • Eeeeeeeeee! ::flappy hands of joy:: Eeeeeeeeeee!

    Here’s hoping we get the trail within my lifetime! (Not holding my breath, but still…)

    Every time I mention this to cyclists and hikers, they get a faraway look in their eyes and a soft, longing smile on their lips. It’s gonna be *epic*.

  • Hoping this will also be equestrian friendly??? There were studies done back in the 1980s that found only 2% of the population were physically able to hike more than a mile or so. And bonus… equestrian groups are usually VERY WILLING to ‘adopt’ a trail, and help with volunteer hours to maintain it. Please include equestrian use through as many portions as possible! They can transport folks who are not physically able to go the distance!

    • Cindy, you are soooo right! When I backpacked the Marble Mtns and the horse packers rode past us, i was instantly hooked on the idea!

  • My concern is that a transportation easement that runs through people’s front yards will be turned into a public right of way causing lots of headaches for those who don’t like people walking across their land . I know it’s the tail roads right of way but that is a different use than walking riding and camping . I would not be happy if this were happening on my land

  • Amimissingsomething

    California and especially Humboldt County…can’t take care of the land they already manage and the tax base is in a downward spiral which means it will fall on the backs of already tax depleted incomes. Are people going to be allowed to use 4 wheelers and horses on these trails? Who will pickup after these brain dead idiot’s as you know from our local homeless population there will be no outside observation. What will it cost taxpayers to fund this bullet train idea brought to you by Brown trout and the Dems. What about fresh water and toilets, showers etc.

  • Fogbound, funding is part of this bill. Looks like CalTrans will be responsible for the work items you mention, and funds that are earmarked for active transportation will be used. So the trail will not be diverting funds from road repair, ports, airports, etc. All across the US, trails are funded separately.

    Cindy LeGrand, it will indeed be equestrian-friendly. What a great multi-day trek that would be…unbelievable!

    Like the Appalachian Trail (which is maintained by teams of community volunteers), we might need to help maintain it. Honestly I never volunteer for anything, but would totally pitch in for this.

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