Another important step was taken on Saturday to bringing the highly-anticipated Great Redwood Trail to Northern California. The popular, bipartisan bill was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, fast-tracking the 300-mile trail for immediate construction with hopes of opening the trail in two years.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the governor’s action, which will launch one of the most significant positive transformations we’ve seen in a generation here on the North Coast — taking a crumbling rail line, managed by a functionally bankrupt public agency, and turning it into a world-wide wonder of a trail and economic driver for Northern California,” North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire said in a press release.
“It’s time for us to move beyond the old debates and begin the process of turning this 300 mile rail line into a world class trail and destination that generations will enjoy,” McGuire said.
The project will transform a train track through the beautiful and diverse North Coast into the Great Redwood Trail. The trail will begin on the north side of the San Francisco Bay and will go through Napa’s wine country before heading up to the Redwood forest area. It will continue along the banks of the Russian and Eel Rivers and on up the the 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.
Not only will the trail be a great addition to Northern California’s already vast outdoor experience but it will also provide a boom for the economies of the towns along the trail.
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.
“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.”
With planning and construction set to begin soon, officials have made it clear they will listen to the public and have the project built methodically.
“This public process will be done right, not fast. It will be inclusive of all voices, detailed and data driven,” McGuire said in the release. “We’ll be hosting public meetings in early 2019 to inform the community on the planning process, receive critical input from neighbors and residents and talk about how we can work together in the months and years to come on the development of the Great Redwood Trail.”