Great Redwood Trail Concept

A 300-mile walking and bicycle trail envisioned along the North Coast and linking the San Francisco Bay with Humboldt Bay has gained some financial footing through the state’s budget process, boosting the chances of realizing the grand project.

The creation of the Great Redwood Trail would convert the old rail corridor overseen by the debt-stricken North Coast Railroad Authority into an asphalt and dirt pathway from Larkspur, through the Eel River Canyon north of Willits, and ending just outside Eureka.

First, however, the Ukiah-based public rail agency must be eliminated. The transportation subcommittees of both houses of the state Legislature have approved Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request of $3 million to continue the lengthy process, advancing the plan introduced in a bill by state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and signed into law last year.

“This begins the beginning of the end for the NCRA,” said McGuire, who  also serves as assistant majority leader of the state Senate. “It’s time to … start focusing on a new chapter with the Great Redwood Trail and close a long and unfortunate chapter in NCRA’s checkered history.”