Scoping Comments on the Great Redwood Trail PEIR

 

Whenever a state agency begins a new development project, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires agencies to evaluate and disclose to the public the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project. This evaluation of impacts usually comes in the form of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). These reports are an important part of any development project, but for the future Great Redwood Trail (GRT), its upcoming program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) is a unique opportunity to comprehensively understand the potential environmental impacts of more than 200 miles of trail through some of the most beautiful natural landscapes northern California has to offer. As trail segments are planned, many will also require individual EIRs to fully examine impacts of those specific segments.

Abandoned rail cars along the Eel River

While the GRT is, of course, headed by the Great Redwood Trail Agency (GRTA), Friends of the Eel River (FOER) has been involved with this trail for longer than the agency has borne that name. Our 2017 victory in the California Supreme Court prevented the old railroad running through the Eel River Canyon from being rebuilt without a proper CEQA review or mitigation of environmental impacts. We are longtime proponents of transforming this outdated source of pollution into a trail that will provide the next generation an opportunity to fall in love with and care for the Eel River. “FOER’s hope is that the Great Redwood Trail will address the legacy harms left by the railroad’s construction and operation, and fulfill the promise to become a world-class destination that will invite people to encounter the Wild and Scenic Eel’s majesty, diversity, and beauty for themselves,” says Alicia Hamann, Executive Director of FOER.

Right now, the GRTA has opened a public scoping period that invites interested parties to offer their thoughts on the scope of the environmental impacts that should be considered by the PEIR. You can read our scoping comments on the Great Redwood Trail program Environmental Impact Report here. The draft PEIR will be released by the end of this year; however, it is just the beginning of the CEQA process and there will be more opportunities for public input once the draft PEIR is made available.

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