The Great Redwood Trail scored a monumental victory last week when a federal regulator rejected the Skunk Train’s offer to purchase 13 miles of train tracks north of Willits. The move will allow the tracks to remain publicly owned and eventually converted to a trail for the proposed 300-mile Great Redwood Trail.
The Great Redwood Trail Agency had asked the Surface Transportation Board to abandon the tracks to begin the process of converting it into a trail. As part of the process, it allowed bids from private entities to buy the tracks. The bid came in from the Skunk Train, but was officially rejected on October 20. The board rejected the Skunk Train’s proposal because it “has not demonstrated financial responsibility.”
“This is a momentous day for the future of the North Coast and the Great Redwood Trail,” said Senator Mike McGuire, who is spearheading the Great Redwood Trail. “With this proposal soundly rejected by the federal government, I’m thrilled that we’ll once and for all start moving dirt and getting large swaths of the Great Redwood Trail built.The STB was extremely clear and concise in their decision, and we are grateful for all of the work they have put into making the Trail a reality. Obviously, we’ll be on the look-out for any potential Hail Mary attempts to appeal and we’ll be at the ready to beat them back in the coming few weeks.”
Senator McGuire is hosting a Town Hall on Monday, October 24th to review the process for the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan. The public is encouraged to join and be a part of the online event. Some of the nation’s top trail designers and experts will be participating in this much-anticipated kickoff.
“Thursday’s clear and definitive ruling is yet another victory in the progress of the Great Redwood Trail,” said Caryl Hart, Chair of the Great Redwood Trail Agency. “This has been a long process, but an outstanding result and a definitive win. I can’t thank our legal team enough – they have done an outstanding job of showing why the Trail is so important to the Golden State and North Coast. We’re all excited to kick off the Trail master plan this coming Monday evening!”
The Great Redwood Trail will transform a train track through the beautiful and diverse North Coast into a 300-mile 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 panoramic Humboldt Bay. Senator McGuire believes it will take two to three years to conclude the trail’s planning before construction will begin.