Count this publisher's column Bay Trail Update No. 10.
The last one, No. 9, was April 24, 2014 and I just discovered an error in it. I wrote that my advocacy in print for a trail along the corridor from Arcata to Eureka began in 2007 when I hiked the rail line clipping blackberries with some Fieldbrook neighbors. It was a publicity stunt we repeated in 2011 with a group from the Humboldt Trails Council. That second hike received plenty of supportive honks from car drivers listening to KHUM that day.
I searched online to fact-check dates for that column but didn't realize until recently that I had written about the Bay Trail dream once before, in the very early 1990s after hiking the Grande Rondoneé on vacation. The GR in France is a national web of trails running the entire country that link up and run alongside local trails maintained by volunteer trail stewards. We literally walked through some of the most famous vineyards in Burgundy that year.
Fast forward 25 years. This Sunday at 10 a.m. on Arcata's South I Street there will be a significant ribbon cutting — rain or shine — celebrating the completion of Arcata's section of the Humboldt Bay Trail. It's three miles of Class I, ADA-accessible, non-motorized multiuse pavement ready to walk, ride or roll.
(Earlier this week in Eureka, the trail section from Del Norte to C streets was opened and the stretch from Halvorsen-to-Tydd will be open by the end of December, completing the 6.3 miles along the city's waterfront. Signage and benches are next. That city plans a huge shindig this spring.)
What southbound drivers on the 101 corridor notice these days is an abrupt end to Arcata's beautiful new trail just short of Bracut. From Bracut to the Eureka Slough is now being called the Final Four miles. Engineering and wetland mitigation work is underway. It's mostly county real estate but clearly will be the most expensive per-mile stretch of the waterfront trail to design and build.
This is where you, Journal readers, can help.
Earlier this year a small group of trail advocates began raising money under the umbrella of the Humboldt Area Foundation for trail maintenance and to provide a local match if the county needs one when it applies for construction funds next year. We can have trails designed on paper but it's difficult to attract funds to build them if we don't have a plan to maintain them.
As of Monday, the fund balance was an encouraging $211,000 — all private donations, mostly individuals. Our goal is $250,000 by the end of this year but the effort will continue into the future with the goal of creating an endowment that shows this community supports trails and will take care of them in perpetuity.
Much of the $211,000 has been raised by personal contact, friends asking friends to donate, plus some website ads with a click-through to www.hafoundation.org/baytrailfund.
This week, the Journal is trying something definitely low-tech. With some help from Times Printing, the Journal is inserting an envelope you can use to donate directly to the Bay Trail Fund by writing an old-fashioned paper check. If you have yet to donate, please do so now. If you've already donated, find the envelope in this edition and don't waste it. Give it to a friend.
See you Sunday at the ribbon cutting. Put on your hiking boots and bring an umbrella.