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.
Humboldt Bay Trail - Maintenance and Public Safety