News Update On The Great Redwood Trail
Few projects now underway in California capture the imagination like the Great Redwood Trail. A planned 320-mile multi use pathway connecting San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, the GRT is steadily becoming closer to reality. We’ve covered the project before in some depth here – today’s post is a call to action and an update on the trail’s recent progress.
Fixing the Southern Terminus
You might be wondering, why does the trail start at Larkspur instead of the Golden Gate Bridge? Wouldn’t it be fitting for the Great Redwood Trail to begin at the southern tip of Marin, the gateway to the Redwood Empire and the most iconic bridge in America?
We agree! However, the way the trail was written into law, it ends at the Larkspur SMART station, even though the old railroad right-of-way went all the way to Sausalito.
The elephant in the tunnel
We believe that the GRT should continue all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Only by connecting seamlessly to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco would the Great Redwood Trail unlock its full potential. But for this to happen, the trail would need to pass through the Alto Tunnel, the only safe and level route between central and southern Marin.
We also believe that, if the Alto Tunnel was designated as the future alignment of the GRT, the tunnel would be an even better candidate for competitive state and federal funding. Rather than linking two towns, it would join San Francisco to a 320-mile trail network, further highlighting the need for the tunnel.
What you can do
The Great Redwood Trail Agency and State Senator Mike McGuire (the father of the GRT) need to hear from us that the trail should extend all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Take a survey
Take five minutes to fill out this survey and make sure to mention that the southern terminus of the Great Redwood Trail should be the Golden Gate Bridge.
Attend an upcoming meeting
Click here to see the list of upcoming online and in-person events across the North Bay. On Tuesday, April 4th at 6 PM, there will be an online workshop (register here in advance). If you attend, please comment in support of the trail, but urge that it extend to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Send an email
You can send an email to State Senator Mike McGuire thanking him for his work on the trail, and urging its extension to the Golden Gate Bridge using this template. If you want to write your own email to the senator, you can use this link instead.
Though one system, the trail will have (at least) two agencies managing it. Between Larkspur and Cloverdale, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) multi use pathway will serve as the Great Redwood Trail. SMART staff will be responsible for construction and maintenance.
While SMART was disappointingly slow to construct the promised pathway in the first 12 years of the agency’s existence (causing MCBC and our partners in Sonoma to withhold our endorsement for the agency’s 2020 ballot measure), there has been a significant amount of positive change in the last two years. The new General Manager, Eddie Cumins, has gotten the SMART pathway back on track, and the board has budgeted significant staffing and funding resources to make up for lost time. We expect to see groundbreaking of several remaining unbuilt segments of pathway in the next two years.
Great Redwood Trail Agency
North of Cloverdale, the trail will be overseen by the Great Redwood Trail Agency. This is a new state agency born out of the Coastal Commission, whose job it will be to plan and implement 250 miles of trail.
The GRT Master Plan has kicked off and will be complete in 2024, at which point funding will be sought to build the trail, starting with the most important segments.
Make sure to email Sen. McGuire to ask for the Great Redwood Trail to extend all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. And keep an eye on our blog for more updates going forward!
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