Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Bay {T}rail Plan

We Have a Plan - Judy Hodgson/North Coast Journal

The plan includes three things Bay Trail Advocates support: A Class I bicycle-and-pedestrian trail around northern Humboldt Bay; some improvements to the existing track between Samoa and Arcata so THA can run a tourist train; and support for THA's proposed Redwood Heritage Museum.

The trail would start in Eureka behind Target, run north along the waterfront through Arcata and end at Timber Heritage's leased property behind the Samoa Cookhouse, where historic train and logging equipment is stored. The trail could be built within the North Coast Railroad Authority's right-of-way -- a rails-with-trail project from Samoa to Arcata, and a rails-to-trail (trail only for now) project between the bay and Highway 101 from Arcata to Eureka.

The key to this museum/tourist train/trail plan is the 1983 federal law that allows unused rail corridors like ours to be "railbanked" -- saved for future passenger and freight train use forever. But in the interim, until rail service returns, the property can be used for a trail and a tourist train....

The upside for those working today on the return of freight service is that the railbanked corridor infrastructure would be preserved and maintained, and the line would be kept whole and unfragmented. With either rail-with-trail or rail-to-trail projects, the liability and maintenance would be transferred to another entity for trail operation, so the project could go forward with non-NCRA funds.

For more information and to register support for the Bay Trail Plan, visit:◼

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