The long-awaited Humboldt Bay Trail, linking the cities of Eureka and Arcata, had its official groundbreaking ceremony this Wednesday, 25 years after the idea was first put forward. This biking trail promises to provide a safe commuting option for the community members between the two cities.
As it stands, U.S. Highway 101 is a perilous route for cyclists. “Only really brave cyclists who are willing to ride on the shoulder can make the trip between Eureka and Arcata,” noted Hank Seemann, Humboldt County Public Works Deputy Director.
One such brave cyclist, Rick Knapp, who began commuting on his bike in 1972, lauded this project. He now serves as the President of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association. For him, the trail symbolizes a major advancement in transforming the Humboldt Community into a more bicycle-friendly place.
Moreover, the trail has a deeper symbolic significance. The recent groundbreaking ceremony highlighted a “ribbon-tying” event instead of the traditional ribbon-cutting. This gesture serves as a metaphor for the trail’s role in physically connecting Eureka and Arcata, further strengthening the bonds between the two North Coast cities.
This project has had its fair share of obstacles, including resistance to the removal of eucalyptus trees on the trail path, addressing erosion issues on the nearby railroad tracks, and obtaining ownership of various land parcels. Despite these challenges, Seemann emphasized the importance of maintaining progress, with the trail’s vision remaining a primary goal over the past 25 years.
“When you see people really having wonderful experiences there, it’s clear how it adds to the quality of life,” said Seemann. “It’s not just for visitors, but residents can go there every day or every week.”
Construction of the Humboldt Bay Trail is set to commence next month and is slated for completion in 2024, transforming the cycling landscape of the county and offering a safer and more enjoyable commuting option for residents and visitors alike.