Railbanking or Trains. Not both. 9,420 sign up to support Eel River trail.
The North Coast Rail Authority (NCRA) met at the Humboldt County Supervisors Chambers today. Let me quickly summarize what went on.
When public comments started on subject not on the agenda, Environmental Protection Information Center Executive Director Scott Greacen let the NCRA Board know that he was not happy with the lack of transparency that he felt was lacking from staff. He outlined his grievances. Others thanked the board for showing up to Humboldt.
Discussion on whether to allow the Timber Heritage Association (THA) to have it's speeder on usable NCRA track for Samoa to Manila runs and Eureka runs for the Jazz festival and Blue's by the Bay became convoluted over liability issues and questions over the THA's motive for running the speeder. After much discussion, the board voted to allow the continued running of the speeder.
When discussion turned to Rail banking, Eel River Trails Association leader Chris Weston announced that he has signatures of 9,420 people who support the project of Railbanking and using the Eel River canyon as a trail! 6,000 of those signatures are from Humboldt County. He gave out his phone number and went around lobbying critics around the room after his three minutes. Many spoke in favor of the trail and trains in the future. Some landowner discussed the problems of people having access to their properties and the trash, environment and safety concerns.
Some confusion happened after Arcata City Councilperson Alex Stillman brought forward a letter (As did Arcata Councilperson Shane Brinton) to the NCRA about their Arcata to Bracut Rails & Trails project. It seems neither the NCRA Board or Legal Staff could agree on the definition of a proper Railbank. It seems the board felt it was an either or and never a combination of the two. That would once more cause a split in the community and have people having to take sides. Both Stillman and Brinton said they were pro-rail and wanted railroad rights protected for the future, but were open for railnaking discussion.
Sounds like the NCRA Board and Staff need to go back to the drawing board on this issue.