Trail Plans & Possibilities
The most common question we hear is, "when are we going to get a rail trail?" —Good question. Ukiah is not a very walking or biking friendly community. That makes it all the more frustrating for us to see an unused railroad corridor right through the center of town.
Here's the situation: the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) is a public ally managed agency that oversees the railroad corridor. They lease the line to Northwest Pacific Railroad (NWP). NWP is interested and working on re-establishing rail service. As long as there is a possibility that rail service will be re-established, a rail trail is impossible. However, a "rail with trail" is possible. There are 61 "rail with trails" in the United States and we believe it is reasonable for us to expect one as well. The NCRA and NWP are currently working on "Guidelines" for rail with trail projects. We think their rough draft is a farce. It requires that the trail be located so far from the rail that it would be impossible to have a trail anywhere along the line.
We're writing letters and making calls advocating that the guidelines be re-written so as to be reasonable. You can help strengthen our advocacy by joining our list of supporters. (Hyperlink) Currently, when we speak with policy makers we can say we represent 400 people in the Ukiah Valley. Obviously, the more people we can legitimately claim to represent, the greater the strength of our advocacy. Help us help you, join today!
Lake Mendocino Trail Plan
We've written a complete trail plan for the US Army Corp of Engineers' Lake Mendocino trails. We expect to meet with them before long, and hopefully they will adopt it. It includes our recommendations for trail design and maintenance standards, trailhead improvements, trail naming and signage, water trails - including our recommendations for quiet days at the lake and increasing the size of the no-motors zone on the south end of the lake. This would allow kayakers, sailors and swimmers an improved experience. We expect to sit down with the Corp and get the plan approved this fall.
BLM Trail Plan - We're also working on a Recreation Management Plan with the local BLM field office. It will probably be well into 2009 before it's complete. We do expect to be able to add a significant amount of trails once the plan is approved. We're advocating for a system of loop trails around Valley View Trail, closer access from the Ukiah Valley that would not require driving up Mill Creek Road to reach a trailhead, and ensuring a safe, quiet experience. We are looking for ways to decrease illegal shooting, dumping, and noise in the area - unfortunately the BLM does not have the funding for regular patrols, so it will require creative solutions. Let us know if you have suggestions.
Jackson Demonstration State Forest
After some years of legal battles, Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JSDF) has a plan... for a plan. This is good. The overall plan will allow responsible logging and some of the proceeds will be used to improve recreation, research and educational opportunities at the site. The Jackson Advisory Group (JAG) is a multi-disciplinary task force that is working on developing a comprehensive management plan for the JSDF. The JAG is setting up a Recreation Advisory Panel - that's where we come in. The JAG will disband once the comprehensive plan is complete, the Recreation Advisory Panel will continue to work with Cal Fire, which is the managing agency for the JSDF. We're hoping to have an Ukiah Valley Trail Group member on the Recreation Advisory Panel and we have had representatives at the initial meetings. We will be advocating for multi-use, sustainable trails. If you have ideas, areas of interest, or specific trails in the area that are important to you, now is the time to let us know.
Ukiah Walks - This is a project that we support. UVTG president Neil Davis is working with Linda Helland and Mari Rodin on a walking route plan for Ukiah. A small grant from the Ukiah Chamber of Commerce will help with design and printing of the maps. Look for more information on this project in the spring. As always, if you have ideas or energy to volunteer to help - let us know.
Mill Creek Park