More than 130 trail supporters attended the second annual Trails Summit on Saturday, June 3 at the Wharfinger Building. This year’s theme was “Humboldt Bay Trail: Connecting the Pieces.”
When complete, the 13-mile-long Humboldt Bay Trail will run from south Eureka through Arcata, serving as an anchor for a network of adjacent trails that connect surrounding communities. This non-motorized trail will increase road safety, provide a low-cost travel alternative, expand recreational opportunities, improve community livability and promote active, healthy transportation. The trail is being constructed in phases by Humboldt County and the cities of Eureka and Arcata. Construction funding is secured for all but the final four miles of the trail, a section called the Bay Trail South that runs from Target to Bracut Industrial Park
Dr. Cheryl Seidner, from the Wiyot Tribe, opened the summit by welcoming the participants to Wiyot country and offering a blessing. County Supervisor Rex Bohn, Eureka City Councilmember Kim Bergel and Arcata Councilmember Sofia Pereira all affirmed their commitment to completing the Humboldt Bay Trail.
Staff from the cities of Eureka and Arcata and updated Trail Summit attendees on Humboldt Bay Trail progress currently underway and Hank Seemann, from Humboldt County Public Works, shared what it will take to complete the “final four” miles of trail to connect Eureka and Arcata.
The important role of community participation was highlighted by Humboldt Trails Council President Natalie Arroyo and longtime trail supporter Dennis Rael, who publicly announced the new Humboldt Bay Trail fund, held at the Humboldt Area Foundation, and encouraged trail supporters to contribute to the fund which is already over $110,000. The new Humboldt Bay Trail logo was unveiled at the event and all attendees received Humboldt Bay Trail stickers.
The Humboldt Bay Trail Fund was established to provide a mechanism for private donors to assist in the continued development of the Humboldt Bay Trail by focusing on the critical need for trail maintenance funds. Proceeds from the fund support on-going and emergency trail maintenance with emphasis on supporting volunteer efforts. Lack of a secure source of maintenance funds is often an impediment to trail development as local governments are reticent to take on responsibly for trails without a reliable source of maintenance funds.
The fund also contributes to making future grant applications for construction funding more competitive by demonstrating strong community support. Donations can be made at hafoundation.org/humboldtbaytrail. For more information about the trail visit humboldtbaytrail.info.
Carol Vander Meer is the trails summit coordinator.