We live in a beautiful place and we are reminded of this every time we bike, walk, or drive around Humboldt Bay. Unfortunately, for many years these scenic coastal views have been marred by the presence of unsightly billboards jutting up along the Highway 101 Safety Corridor between Arcata and Eureka. 

Humboldt Baykeeper has been working for several years to have these billboards removed - legally and permanently. There have been many unsuccessful attempts in the past to remove these billboards, but in Sept. 2013, the California Coastal Commission responded to our calls to address this blight. Since then, Caltrans has finally revoked permits for most of the billboards along the bay. Since 2012, 15 fewer billboards obstruct our beautiful bay views between Arcata and Eureka, and today only 4 remain. We will continue our efforts until they are all gone for good.


Out amid the discarded macaroni salad containers, Carls Jr. cups and spray-painted graffiti tags along U.S. Highway 101 in south Arcata, the culture wars are heating up.


Another billboard along the U.S. Highway 101/Humboldt Bay corridor was cut down last Thursday, this one advertising mattresses for Living Styles furniture store. It was almost immediately re-erected, after a fashion.


In secret the sign was chopped down, and in secret it has been re-erected. Sometime between last night and this morning, the Living Styles billboard near the Gannon Slough Bridge (just south of Arcata on Hwy. 101) was repaired in violation of a red tag placed on the structure by the City of Arcata.


Looks like our local George Hayduke has struck again. Barely a week after a Bailey Mortgage billboard was felled on the 101 safety corridor, another plank has taken a face-plant, this one near the Gannon Slough bridge just south of Arcata. And the severed support beams bear the telltale signs of human mischief.


While authorities are seeking whoever chopped down a bill­board along the southbound lanes of the U.S. Highway 101 Safety Corridor, the real mystery may be just who owns the land beneath it — and whether the Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project will prevent the fallen billboard from ever rising again.

Posted 1/3/14

Note: this column appeared in the Dec. 11, 2013 Mad River Union. – Ed.

When I read that Caltrans estimates the cost of removing the billboards along U.S. Highway 101 between Arcata and Eureka at $2 million, my first thought was “Bleep, I know guys who would do it for a can of gas for their chainsaw and a six pack.”

My second thought was that if the fight goes on long enough, climate change will take care of the problem for us. I commuted between the two cities from 1990 to 1994, and during that time, a massive wind storm toppled several of them into matchsticks.