World class destination trail system a big step closer to reality with bipartisan, unanimous support in committee
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.