“I am opposed to this project….It encroaches on my railroad….You have no right to take this railroad track and turn it into a trail.”

Can the railroad reign in its operator?
Wed, 08/13/2008
Chris Rall

Discussions at the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) meeting today seemed to indicate that the Board of Directors is making strides to meet trail advocates somewhere in the middle while the operator, Northwest Pacific Railroad (NWP), headed by John Williams, doesn’t have much interest in a cooperative relationship with trail advocates.

We’ve had our differences with the Board when it comes to the feasibility of rebuilding and maintaining the railroad from Willits up to Humboldt Bay, but in agreeing to disagree, we are seeing some trail progress. The Board continues to move slowly toward railbanking the Annie and Mary section of the Railroad from Arcata to Blue Lake to create a trail there, has directed staff to create guidelines for rail-with-trail projects, and will likely provide a letter of support for Arcata to commence a planning process for a rail-with-trail project along the railroad corridor in Arcata, possibly connecting with the Annie and Mary Trail, and continuing south to the Arcata Marsh.

But for some reason, John Williams of the NWP doesn’t see trail development as a good way for the railroad to gain public support. He has entered a lease to operate the southern portion of the line and has an option to operate the Eel River and Humboldt Bay sections.

Read the rest of Chris’s excellent reporting on the NCRA meeting >