State Recommends Funding for Completion of Humboldt Bay Trail

Press release from the County of Humboldt:

The project to complete the 4-mile gap in the Humboldt Bay Trail between Eureka and Arcata is on the list of projects recommended for funding through the state’s 2019 Active Transportation Program.

The Active Transportation Program is a competitive grant program that funds bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout California. The list of recommended projects was released by California Transportation Commission staff on Dec. 28 and is expected to be formally approved by the Commission at its Jan. 31 meeting. Humboldt County’s “Humboldt Bay Trail South” project was tied for the fifth-highest score in the category of projects that competed on a statewide basis. The recommended funding amount is $13.3 million.

The Humboldt Bay Trail will provide a balanced transportation system between the county’s two largest cities by constructing a facility dedicated for non-motorized use separated from U.S. Highway 101. In addition to serving the region’s transportation needs, the Humboldt Bay Trail will achieve a critical link in the California Coastal Trail and enhance recreational use and enjoyment around the bay.

“Our community places a high value on trails,” said 1st District Supervisor Rex Bohn. “Trails give people the opportunity to be physically active and connect with the outdoors. I see families, young adults, and seniors enjoying the Eureka Waterfront Trail all the time. Trails help make Humboldt County a great place to live and visit. Many people have told us they would bike or walk between Eureka and Arcata if they felt safe to do so. We appreciate the Transportation Commission’s support for the Humboldt Bay Trail as an important investment in safety and quality of life for our region.”

The Humboldt Bay Trail South project will provide a paved path with two 5-foot lanes from the Eureka Slough area to the Bracut Industrial Park, creating the interconnecting link between the Eureka Waterfront Trail and Arcata’s Humboldt Bay Trail North segment. The proposed alignment for the multi-use trail is situated primarily along the U.S. Highway 101 and railroad corridor with the exception of a proposed levee trail segment around the California Redwood Company mill site. Construction is projected to begin in 2021.

The project design accounts for constraints along the narrow transportation corridor and sensitive habitat areas along the shoreline of Humboldt Bay. The current design includes three new bridges, modifications to the existing railroad bridge across Eureka Slough, retaining walls, repair of the shoreline revetment along the railroad, removal of a portion of the eucalyptus trees along the highway, removal of at least one billboard, and construction of a cable barrier between U.S. Highway 101 and the trail. The project includes extending the cable barrier along portions of the City of Arcata’s existing trail adjacent to U.S. Highway 101.

The Humboldt Bay Trail is being developed as a series of projects through the collaborative efforts of the Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), Humboldt County, City of Arcata, City of Eureka, Caltrans, California State Coastal Conservancy, North Coast Railroad Authority, Redwood Community Action Agency, Humboldt Trails Council, and other partners. In 2017, the Humboldt Bay Trail Fund was established at the Humboldt Area Foundation enabling individuals and businesses to provide financial support. So far, nearly 450 donors have contributed almost $300,000 to the fund. Completion of Humboldt County’s project will result in a continuous non-motorized trail from central Arcata to the southern end of Eureka for a total length of nearly 14 miles.

Humboldt County initiated technical studies to evaluate alignment options for Humboldt Bay Trail South in 2013. Preliminary engineering and environmental studies began in 2015. The Board of Supervisors adopted the environmental study report in July 2018. Prior to starting construction, Humboldt County will need to complete the engineering plans and specifications, acquire environmental permits, develop a plan for mitigating wetland impacts, and acquire right-of-way.

The proposed project crosses property owned by the North Coast Railroad Authority, Caltrans, City of Eureka, and three private landowners. Humboldt County will need to obtain right-of-way through easement or acquisition from the three affected private landowners. Humboldt County has initiated discussions with the affected landowners regarding right-of-way and seeks to work cooperatively with each of them to obtain the rights needed for the trail. Right-of-way for transportation projects is acquired based on appraisals to determine fair market value.

The Humboldt Bay Trail is related to the Highway 101 Eureka-Arcata Corridor Improvement Project, a major project initiated in 2002 by Caltrans and HCAOG to improve highway safety and operations at six at-grade crossings on U.S. Highway 101, including a major new interchange at Indianola. In September 2013, the Coastal Commission adopted a condition that construction of the Corridor Improvement Project cannot begin until the Humboldt Bay Trail is fully funded and has right-of-way secured. Completion of the Humboldt Bay Trail will enable completion of the Corridor Improvement Project which has been a regional priority for highway safety since 2002.

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For more information contact:

Hank Seemann, Deputy Director

Humboldt County Public Works Department

707-445-7741

hseemann@co.humboldt.ca.us hseemann@co.humboldt.ca.us

Photos and video below:

Map of the Humboldt Bay Trail. The project that has been recommended for funding will be constructed in the area in yellow. The other pieces of the trail on this map have already been constructed.

Bay Trail South Map

This map includes various segments of the Humboldt Bay Trail South.

Bay Trail South with segment details

Short video on the final four miles of the Humboldt Bay Trail.

Find more info on the Humboldt Bay Trail website

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51 comments

  • They should just go ahead and finish it.

    • This trail will save lives. That man that was struck on the 101 last week would be alive right now if he had a safer roadway to use.

      • Umm. Bull fucking shit. Sorry to be rude, but these people playing in traffic have absolutely nothing to do with lack of other routes.

        • The only routes are 101, Old Arcata Road and Samoa. All dangerous as hell.

          That man last week wasn’t found in the middle of the road, he was found off to the side.

    • ALERT! They will cut 40% of the Eucalyptus corridor to do this project!!! It’s not even mentioned in this article! SHAMEFUL! Protest!!! This proposal is a total sham.

      • AGREED!!! DO NOT SUPPORT THE CUTTING OF THE EUCALYPTUS TREES!!!
        The concept is important and I support the trail. But, besides being way damn expensive, what are the possible/likely effects about the sea level change on the trail? Let’s ask Supervisors Madrone and Wilson for their thoughts.
        So, ‘For Sure’, how do you suggest we PROTEST the tree cutting??!!?

        • A licensed arborist told the county the trees have significant rot on the inside. Either they get removed or they will begin removing themselves piece by piece, onto passing motorists.

          • and then the lawsuites can start piling up for their lack of removing a known safety hazard

          • Yeah? Let’s see the credentials of the arborist, who they usually work for (CalTrans, maybe?) and who paid them. Then we can consider that ‘study’.

            • these trees are known for rotting from the insides they often shatter and splinter all over when felled. since those trees have recived little to zero care it is a safe bet that they are junk. given that and that a tree expert looked at them and said they were bad, they now pose a hazard and must be removed or else the state and taxpayers will be responsible for any damages or loss of life cause from them.

        • Maybe the activists that defend Richardson Grove would help organize? And definitely contact supervisors. EPIC in Arcata? People who love that corridor- HELP!!!

          • Good suggestions. Of the RG activists, contact EPIC and Barbara Kennedy. Supervisors would be good too. Someone call a meeting with plenty of advance notice and to the (likely) concerned organizations and people, and then get the ball rolling (if it isn’t already).

      • For Sure are you aware Eucalyptus trees are not indigenous. The path is move important then those trees. Eucalyptus trees should not be here but the wood makes for the best fire wood!

  • Wonder if it’s possible to put up billboards that could be leased to businesses in order to pay for this?

    • Y Knot?, The hippies made them take down the billboards by the bay a long time ago. They thought the Marbled Murrelets would run into them and cause their beaks to poke out their butt.

      • Fake news.

        https://m.northcoastjournal.com/NewsBlog/archives/2016/08/19/updated-bay-billboards-no-more

        “Removal of these billboards will help Caltrans meet one of the California Coastal Commission’s conditions for permitting the Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project. The Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project is a safety project to reduce collisions at intersections on Route 101 and has been a regional priority for over ten years. The Coastal Commission,
        in its Consistency Certification, required removing billboards in the Coastal Zone, to the maximum extent feasible, to mitigate the proposed project’s visual impacts at Indianola Cutoff. Some of the billboards to be removed are located on publicly owned land, without permission of the underlying landowner”

        They’re trying to save human lives, not birds.

        • Yes, I was funning about the birds, but the Coastal Commision didn’t have them removed to save lives, It had them removed because it fit their agenda and the enviros hated to see anything blocking the view of the pulp mill. And before you stroke out , yes i’m joking again.

        • They’re not trying to save human lives, either. Removing the billboards is a random condition a corrupt government agency decided to impose to remind everyone it answers to no one. And, no, this isn’t just my opinion – a similar issue that went to court ended with Justice Scalia ruling the coastal commission was running “an out-and-out plan of extortion”. Not the only time a judge has said such things about the CC, either. But, they answer to no one, neither the public nor other politicians, and thus have no incentive to do anything differently, as long as agencies like caltrans lack the balls to take them to court yet again.

          I don’t like billboards, and I’d be perfectly happy never seeing one again. Especially any one with an LED sign. But, I like government corruption even less.

          • They list the billboards as a distraction on a dangerous stretch of road, and they definitely are. Maybe they also had nefarious motives for removing the billboards, I don’t know.

      • I found it interesting that the only billboards taken down were ones that block the sunset view of a home owned by a local developer that likes to build tax free subsidized housing and considered himself a “friggin winner” when interviewed by the NCJ. but yes lets blame some demographic group that no longer exists.

      • No, they were just really ugly. I’d rather look at grass and mud.

  • I support the creation of the trail but this is the type of thing that should be paid for with local funds.

    • The trail is going to connect to the Great Redwood Trail, a state project. This will be beneficial at more than just a local level.

  • EEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ::bounces in chair:: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Happy new year everyone! Thanks for this, Kym!

    Oh dear! My !!!!!! is stuck!!!! ::vbg::

  • So sea level rise will not be an issue for this trail?

    • oh it will be . but once it is built then will come the huge bill to raise it above the proposed water line, and since state transportation funds paid for it, we can expect a hike in fuel tax to cover added expense. personally transportatiin dollars should be spent on areas that are taxed for such purposes. so untill walkers and bikers start paying a useage fee like everyone else these projects should be funded another way.

      • Looking at maps of projected sea level rise this trail won’t be around for long. Why isn’t that the main talking point here?

  • I like trails and all but this is a huge waste of money and resources!
    That trail will be under water within 5 years by the bay where the lands sinking and the water is rising. Arcata is so weird to have a team working on sea level rise for quite awhile now but they dont listen to them i guess.
    Was anyone even talking about removing the trees before this? Seems like it would be better to have their roots hold the soil there. Plus the wind will create serious accidents where those trees are, it will be gusty. Until eureka designates an area for our homeless in need, i bet there willbe needles and users all over that trail.
    Maybe im wrong but honestly how many of you would let your kids/teens ride their bikes from arcata to eureka on this trail? If your answers no then the trail really is a waste.
    Too bad we couldnt take that 350000 spent on trail so far and use it for actual issues in our community.
    Plus i dont get why baykeeper is into it, people are gonna throw trash in the bay and ruin the bird habitat there, are there port a potties on the trail? If not im def not eating anything out of the bay, gross!!! The oil spill in 97 where all the diesel sunk to the bottom of bay was bad enuf. If i was an oyster farmer id be worried.

    Our most hidden grove of ancient trees was discovered and is now in danger from all the idiots trampling everything around while taking selfies. Opening upmore habitat is dumb to me, same things gonna happen on sides of this trail. Did they look for nesting birds before building it? Cuz those eggs will be gone once selfie jerks use the trail. Entitled to walk and smoosh whatever they want to get that shot!

    • You have some good points there but the trees are a ineffective wind block and hazard themselves. The roots will not survive the rising water.

    • The trees being removed are rotting on the inside. As for sea level rise, we’re getting about 2cm a decade, so we could get about centuries of use out of it even if we don’t reverse climate change.

      What ancient grove are you talking about?

      • we will never be able to stop climatw change. the climate is ever cha ging. that is like saying we can stop the waves from crashing o to the beach.
        as for global warming the planet is fixung that its self by moving further away from the sun at a increasing rate. infact many are already talking about another ice age just as the were 40 years ago.
        the smart money is to not react to folks attempting to create a crisis o a global scale to change the way people act. infact such scare tatics sort of define the word terrorist.
        Any action byba group of person to force others out of fear to change they way they do things. sure sounds like terrorism to me. wtf is hls on this ?

  • Balloon tyres float.
    If that doesn’t work talk to the Kinetic Sculpture people. They have made bikes float for years.

  • More wasted tax dollars on yuppie tourist leisure. Your La Raza state government at work. No one but long distance bicyclists, a few students in great shape and some homeless will ride/trudge seven miles between these two towns, especially in the rain (six months a year). Foolish. Criminal waste. And the same well connected companies will build it. Cronyism in extremis.

    How about jobs for thousands, or housing for hundreds? People who spend $5K on a bike (like a relative of mine) should pay for the damn trail if they are going to use it. Typical liberal BS.

    • I agree with the last part of that quite strongly… We need a law that any “improvements” that solely benefit cyclists and pedestrians have to be funded entirely by cyclists and pedestrians. As it is now, the people who pay for it aren’t allowed to use it, while the people who use it don’t pay for it.

    • Typical conservative BS, dosen’t want to pay for infrastructure that they won’t personally use. In this case, out of pure laziness.

      Why should we be forced to pay for everyone’s roads? Just put tollbooths everywhere and let the drivers that use the individual roads pay for them! I’m a libertarian genius!

      • taxation without repsentation. just becaude you do not drive on the roads does not mean you do not recove the bennifits of the police fire trucks that bring your foods iphones school books dont.

        • Just because you do not get exercise and relaxation from hiking, doesn’t mean you don’t benefit from your fellow citizens being healthier, better tempered and more vigorous. Fewer people will die biking the 101 corridor, too.

          • that doesnt mean we should spend transportation dolllars that come from fuel tax and plate fees on trails. no there should be a bike tax or spandax tax and mayne even a burkenstock tax to cover the cost of the trail.

  • I’m generally supportive of bike trails but with sea level rise this thing will have to be raised up in the next twenty years. The freeway will have the same problem. I think the main question is what costs less in the long run: raising 101 and the trails or moving the transportation infrastructure inland to higher ground?

    • Let’s see, which costs less…. Adding a couple feet of gravel on top of an existing grade and rolling the top, or engineering a new route, purchasing right-of-way (which will take a few eminent domain claims, since there will be people’s homes in the way), doing major grading, building it up layer by layer, adding new bridges, new interchanges, etc etc etc etc….

      I mean, did you really need to ask that?

      • You could probably just build an elevated walkway on pilings, like was done in many places on the bay trail already. You might know that if you went outside and got some exercise.

        • or how about just building the trail somewhere it will not be effected in the first place. with monies not provided from the taxpayers that is supposed to be ear marked for roads.

  • Sighs:

    The northern part of the ‘trail’ is already starting to overgrow.
    It was used a bit at first… but pretty soon people discovered the were hiking/biking along a
    busily used highway with lots of noise and often a lot of wind.

    Now they will spend a million dollars (or so) putting ‘cable barriers’ along the highway
    to protect the non-existent hikers.

    Same thing they are cutting the eucalyptus trees down…
    to ‘protect’ the non-existent hikers.

    (Sighs again.)

  • The California Coastal Commission is comparable to The State slash The County Water Board people . . with the same credentials of lawfully delegated authority to express We, the People’s power -Zilch, Zero, Nada.

    Commissioners are not elected. They are not on the land –in a republic juris.
    The County/State Water gurus are not qualified, licensed water professionals.

    Two or three summers ago i watched a CA Inc. Coastal Commission meeting held in Long Beach. The place was packed. The part i want to say here, is, when the 25 fracking wells off the coast of California, that later was reported as being in place forty years, was brought up by one of the public speakers, not ONE of the Commissioners HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER about the offshore wells! The look on the chair’s face was one of total incompetence.

    I’m not real familiar about the eucalyptus trees, however, Hwy. 36 being the main east west logging road in Humboldt, i’m aware that clear-cut logging is on full-speed ahead. Like in 90’s, at least.

    The war western civilization has waged on nature is a war on our humanity.

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