Monday, November 5, 2012

Arcata Community Forest additions underway; Ridge Trail will link them up

The city of Arcata has broken ground on two major new sections of trails in the Arcata Community Forest, which will eventually be used by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. - Luke Ramseth/The Times-Standard

”(The community forest) is not new for us, but it's expanding in an exciting way,” said Mark Andre, Arcata's Environmental Services director. In 1979, Arcata approved a “Multiple Use Management Plan” initiative, which led the forest to look much like it does currently -- a series of multi-use trails over an area of approximately 800 acres.

Andre said the process of adding trails to the forest involves doing some “low intensity” sustainable timber harvesting in some areas, and doing road decommissioning, which often means preventing erosion on old logging roads while turning them into single-track trails.

What used to be a small, overgrown trail along a crumbling logging road in the Sunny Brae Forest was recently built into a widened, well-draining gravel road to help with the logging and trail building process.

Andre said the community forest, as it currently stands, wasn't enough for Arcata's recreationalists.

”It's a reflection of the demand. It's what people want,” Andre said....

Uri Driscoll, a 30-year resident of Arcata and the Northern California Horseman's Association vice president, said he's been working with the city to improve access points for his fellow equestrians.

He said there are neighborhoods with lots of horse owners -- both in Sunny Brae and on Fickle Hill -- and the new trail system will help them reach the trail without putting the horse in a trailer. For horse owners farther away, he's been working with the city on a better access point off West End Road, where equestrians would have plenty of room to park.

”That would be a great spot, a good trail hub,” Driscoll said of the proposed parking lot location. He said it would be easy access for hikers and bikers, too.

As for the community forest trails themselves, Driscoll said he is impressed.

”The trails are excellent,” he said. “They're state of the art with their trail building. I wish other municipalities paid this close attention.” (Read the rest, at the link)

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