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Orange Blossoms




There is one value that the row of Eucalyptus trees along the 101 corridor provide us that was not mentioned in your Jan. 8.article (“O, Eucalyptus,” Jan. 8). Viewed from across the bay they create a beautiful scenic vista. Please refer to the attached photographs that I recently took from Arcata’s marsh. Removing 50 percent of these trees would substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of what is a very enjoyable and unique coastal vista.

Caltrans should know that the Coastal Act requires scenic and visual qualities of coastal areas be protected as a resource of public importance. If Caltrans goes through with its plan and cuts half of these trees it will not be able to mitigate the damage to this beautiful and scenic coastal vista that many people presently enjoy. Let Caltrans know that aesthetics do matter.

— Aldaron Laird, Arcata


We should not underestimate the socioeconomic or aesthetic consequences of the CalTrans’ Richardson Grove widening proposal, which increases our dependence on obsolete, unreliable global market strategies, including big diesel trucks (“Drive-Thru Redwoods,” Jan. 8).

We should utilize 21st century know-how and exploit the minor inconveniences attributable to our geography and weather to develop regional self-reliance, while enhancing RG and its local businesses with slowed traffic and a safe bike lane.

CalTrans makes much of the alleged economic benefits of STAA trucks to some businesses, but never evaluates the impacts on local businesses of the inevitable chain store invasions and urbanization that soon follow highway thoroughfares. The environmental report mentions but never analyzes the impacts of STAA connection from 101 to I-5, so the whole area can be “served,” and developed. It doesn’t analyze the impacts of compressing big redwood tree roots, either.

The RG and Eureka-Arcata corridor projects are wasteful and destructive boondoggles that needlessly threaten our small-town lifestyles with rapid, overwhelming, faceless, exploitative development. Our geography buffers us, and we should exploit it to foster creative socio-economic solutions that enhance, rather than degrade, our quality of life.

With innovative, sustainable local development of our unparalleled recreational, agricultural, fishery, timber, manufacturing and other resources, using emerging energy, transportation (electric vehicles?), communication, and other technologies, we can retain what we love while improving our lot.

Twisty highways are like potholes in a country road. Fix ’em, and trouble follows.?Widening roads is as irreversible as the consequences are inevitable, which we ignore at great peril.

Ken Miller, McKinleyville


As we consider the Richardson Grove widening (“Drive-Thru Redwoods,” Jan. 8) it may be useful to look at the Big Lagoon project, which was also supposed to be a minor “tweaking” of the existing roadbed to benefit STAA trucks. It proceeded with apparently no input from environmentalists.

On the left (west) of the pavement is a steep graveled grade, with a second road at its foot. This road, graded, compacted and graveled, about 300 feet long, was used for contractor access during the project. Extending south from it is a 25 foot wide, 200 foot long, graded, compacted, graveled shoulder. This huge pullout was used for employee parking, materials storage and parking of heavy equipment during construction. A similar shoulder, 100 feet long and 15 feet wide, was constructed at the north end of this road. While these developments clearly facilitated construction and kept costs down, they now remain as an enduring degradation of the park.

This was built in what is formally known as the Harry Merlo State Recreation Area, on the east shore of Big Lagoon. The park’s general plan describes this part of the park as “the best known example of an unusual old-growth forest association of coast redwood, grand fir, and Sitka spruce.” And of course any old growth left in the heavily logged coastal corridor is also unusual. While the trees, stressed by salt air and strong coastal winds, do not form “cathedral groves,” they are unmistakably old growth, with the longterm stability and complex structure needed to support dependent species.

A closer view of the overwhelmed barrier along the edge of the road, shows it is half-buried in sediment, and will probably fail and release its load into Big Lagoon. That “pervasive lack of trust” Scott Greacen remarked on doesn’t come from nowhere.

Susan Nolan, McKinleyville

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