Coastal residents have come to expect endless weeks of fog from May through August. A few find it romantic; others mutter about how the apocryphal Mark Twain quotation ("the coldest winter I ever spent ...") is right on the money. In truth, we should be grateful for the blanket of mist around them. Its arrival marks the start of a great annual surge of life just offshore.
On Thursday, the California Coastal Commission approved Humboldt County’s application to finish off the Humboldt Bay Trail South - the final stretch of a pedestrian and bike path that would link Eureka and Arcata, a project decades in the making.
If all goes well, the path should be open and ready to use for the public by fall 2023, said Hank Seemann, Humboldt County’s deputy director of Environmental Services.
The project could open up a safer, faster way to travel from Eureka to Arcata and vice versa without a car, said Colin Fiske, executive director of local pedestrian advocacy group the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities.
“This is the crown jewel of the separated bike and pedestrian network for the county because it does connect the two main residential and job centers, where a lot of people commute back and forth and go back and forth for shopping, for recreation, and so forth,” Fiske said. “So I know there’s a lot of excitement for it, and count me as one of those people.”
The permit from the California Coastal Commission had 18 special conditions, included getting confirmation from other agencies and developing specialized plans, which can all be found on the commission’s website at coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2022/4.
The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously today to conditionally concur with a federal determination that allowing energy companies and organizations to study a proposed offshore wind farm area on the Humboldt County Coast is consistent with the California Coastal Management Program.
The commission’s vote today does not approve the wind farms or the start of any construction activities — all of which would come back before the commission in the future for further review
Commission staff made clear in its report and presentation that while BOEM believes it is premature to analyze the full scope of environmental impacts of turning a swath of ocean waters off Humboldt Bay into a wind farm, such a transformation is a “reasonably foreseeable” result of today’s vote, so should be considered to the extent possible. Further, commission staff explained this consistency determination was a chance to lay a foundation for the commission’s role in the process moving forward as the state and federal governments continue to push for a more sustainable energy grid.