May 10th, 2018
California Senators and Assembly Members
Re: SB 1029 Great Redwood Trail Act — Support
Dear California Legislators:
As representatives of the California conservation and sustainable recreation communities, we offer our wholehearted support for Sen. Mike McGuire’s Great Redwood Trail Act (SB 1029).
It is profoundly important that the California Legislature is moving at last to abolish the North Coast Railroad Authority. It is, however, even more important that we as a state are moving to both correct the harms the railroad has done to California’s North Coast and advance an exciting non-motorized regional trail development opportunity.
The proposal to railbank the railway right of way for use as a public hiking, biking, and riding trail offers tremendous promise. The Great Redwood Trail could become one of the world’s premier destination trails and offer a safer transit alternative for coastal through-cyclists as well as local enjoyment. It would also expand fishing access in outstanding places like the Eel River Canyon. However, achieving this promise will take careful planning and collaborative implementation to turn the failed railroad right of way into a low-impact trail.
Our support for this bill is offered in the expectation that the people of California, through the legislature and relevant agencies, will do for the Great Redwood Trail Agency what we failed to do for the NCRA. That means giving it an achievable mission, the means to complete that task, and the oversight necessary to see it gets done. We are all committed to being part of this solution and hopeful for its future.
The proposed use of the NCRA railroad right of way to create a Great Redwood Trail is an idea whose time has truly come. The Great Redwood Trail would turn a costly liability into a unique and valuable asset for California’s North Coast.
We are thankful to Sen. McGuire for introducing this bill, and we thank you for your thoughtful consideration of it.
Stephanie Tidwell, Executive Director
Friends of the Eel River
Caryl Hart, Attorney
NCRA Board Member
Paul Mason, V.P., Policy & Incentives
Pacific Forest Trust
Tom Wheeler, Executive Director
Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
Jennifer Kalt, Director
Larry Glass, Executive Director
Northcoast Environmental Center
Darren Mierau, North Coast Program Director
Ryan Henson, Policy Director
CalWild (California Wilderness Coalition)
Dee Swanhuyser, Board Member
Dave Snyder, Executive Director
California Bicycle Coalition
Alexa DeJoannis, President
Redwood Region Audubon Society