Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury Releases Report on Humboldt Bay Trail

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury:

The February 2018 issue of Sunset magazine named Eureka one of the “Most Game-Changing Places to Live in the West,” citing its architecture, artists per capita, redwoods, and trails.  The developing trail system is a source of pride to local residents, and the means for many visitors to experience the beauty of the county and its bay.

Currently, the Arcata trail segment is complete and the Eureka segment is almost finished; both are in use daily.  The portion connecting the two segments is under development by the county Public Works Department, with construction estimated to begin in 2021.  While trail design and construction costs have been grant-funded, Eureka, Arcata and the county assume responsibility for ongoing security, safety and maintenance, concerns which became the focus of the Grand Jury’s investigation.

In terms of safety, all segments of the trail share similar challenges, such as potential for injury from user conflicts, diminished visibility after dark, and addressing the needs of individuals with various disabilities.  Unique difficulties exist with the gap in Eureka between the boardwalk and the Aquatic Center, and a major safety concern arises on the 10-foot-wide temporary segment on the Highway 101 shoulder between Arcata and Eureka.  Increased patrols and signage are needed to address these concerns.

Security can be compromised, primarily as a result of homeless encampments, which often include trash and drug-related paraphernalia.  These concerns have been mitigated to some extent through increased police patrols, including the Problem Oriented Policing squad, but more frequent monitoring and better lighting along some trail segments is needed.

Ongoing maintenance is provided by a number of volunteer organizations, including the Volunteer Trail Stewards and Humboldt State University student groups.  The Humboldt Bay Trail Fund, managed by the Humboldt Area Foundation, engages in ongoing fundraising efforts to support trail maintenance.  These efforts must be maintained in order for the trial system to remain viable.

The full report is attached.

Humboldt Bay Trail - Maintenance and Public Safety


  • Danger Will Robinson

    Untill the homeless and transient camps are eliminated from the trail completely it remains a dangerous place to venture into. I would never suggest to anyone visiting this area to use the trail, it’s more of a self tour of trash, aggressive dogs, and mentally unstable people.If you use the trail bring a taser and some pepper spray, if you have a concealed carry permit bring your weapon, the trail is a great thing to be establishing but it’s big threat to your personal safety the way it is now.

    • My eighty some year old aunt and I walked a portion of this and never felt the least unsafe. She says she walks it often and hasn’t had a bad experience.

      • Its great that you felt safe but your feelings are weak evidence of the areas safety. Often people feel safe until the moment something horrible happens. Also, not all portions of the trail are considered dangerous.

        • Or…its too bad that you felt unsafe but your feelings are weak evidence of the area having problems…

          • But I dont feel unsafe because I am a larger male. Nor did I suggest that my feeling are evidence, as you did.

            Are you unaware of any evidence that the trail has unsafe segments?

            • if you would like to learn about what parts of town are unsafe for a big guy like you, I recommend the EPDs new crime plotting map. the entire town is about the same, but there are more calls in the various housing projects. not much on the trail for service calls and I have yet to read about an incident, but I am sure some idiot will eventual fabricate something to be right.

              • Im pretty sure all parts of town are relatively safe for me. But I do mean relatively. Im mostly concerned for other people, like yourself. The little folks. Thank you though.

        • Who guaranteed safety in life? As evidenced by the news, walking down the street can be hazardous.

          • No one guaranteed safety and no one is making the argument that safety should, or can be “guaranteed”. You are responding to a strawman argument.

      • Try droppin granny off at the beginning of Hikshari trail, or by Shamus, or near the mall, or old town. Denial aint a river in Egypt!
        My dogs were attacked by a meandering Pitbull on that trail. I made it outta there shortly before a herd of meth zombies made their way outta the bushes to accost me. Let’s give them all free shit and pretend like they’re not there. Lets pretend that trail is safe; maybe then the problem will go away.

        • My aunt walks the beginning of the Hikshari thru the Shamus area and she walks by the Samoa Bridge. I’ve walked with her several times most recently about a month ago and it was lovely.

    • This is the kind of paranoid rant a couch quarterback who never puts down the phone would say. Try getting outside and actually walking the trail. Try getting outside in any way at all. Maybe you won’t be so afraid of your own shadow. And you might lose some weight too.

    • Oh good lord! I reckon…. If people are afraid, lights won’t help them. Fearful folks should stay home or in the mall. Leaving more solitude for the rest of us on the trails.

  • Its a game changer alright, tweekers and needles everywhere. The first time anyone drives into eureka its becomes clear that most people using the sidewalk are tweekers and someone is making a fortune selling meth to half the population.
    Lock your shit and watch your back!
    What a game changer!

  • Anyone know what’s going on with the section of the McKay Tract the city purchased?

  • I walked the trail between Open Door Clinic and the Adorni Center yesterday with a friend. What a pleasant walk! We passed at least a dozen smiling faces, and all wanted to exchange a pleasant greeting. I would like to thank all the volunteers who help with the trails in our area and the grand jury for their helpful suggestions.

  • My family and I rode it from Old town to Myrtle. It was amazing. Can’t wait for the connection to Arcata to be completed.

  • Amid all the stresses and concerns in our country and county, this is wonderful news!
    While historians will not look too kindly on our fossil fuel and automobile-centric culture, to have made some better choices and investments in my lifetime feels good!

  • Dumb question but the Eureka side isn’t connected all the way through yet right? Ive got on at the beginning at Elk River and took it to Shamus’s by the mall (About 1.5 miles) and it looked like to me that it ended there. There was a sign that says it will be completed but maybe it has been i just need to explore further down. Public works seems to not update those signs like the Mccay community forest sign says it should be open in 2015 and its 3 years later.

    • You have to use surface streets up through target when it resumes. The next strip takes you to indianola cutoff, there’ll be more coming to connect you to arcata, but for now that’s it.

    • The trail continues, paralleling surface streets, up to C St. There’s a street section from there to about G St.; ride through the unpaved railroad area (it’s been leveled, blocked to cars, and signed) to the Adorni Center, where it picks up again all the way to Tydd St.


  • We walk a lot of the Eureka Waterfront Trail frequently and never fear for our safety. In fact we are surprised by the number of people using the trail including seniors and families with kids on bikes and in strollers. The trail is surprisingly clean and well maintained thanks the the Trail Stewards and others. Beautiful views of the bay.

    • That was my experience, too. Every walk is beautiful and the trail is clean. There are families out for bike rides, seniors hiking, and smiles on faces.

      • Me too! I ride the northern end during my lunch break, and it’s always *so* busy. Walkers, runners, strollers, dog walkers, bicyclists, homeless, every one with a smile.

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