Great Redwood Trail: Updates

Railroad tracks in forest

Brown Bag Lunch Online Presentation with Elaine Hogan, Executive Director, Great Redwood Trail Agency

Monday, June 17, 2024 - 12:00pm

Brown Bag Lunch Online Presentation with Elaine Hogan, Executive Director, Great Redwood Trail Agency:

The Great Redwood Trail Agency (GRTA) proposes to construct a 231-mile, multi-use trail from the Mendocino County/Sonoma County line north into Humboldt County on former North Coast Railroad Authority right-of-way and adjacent public lands.

The proposed trail alignment travels through ancestral and near current tribal lands, as well as multiple cities and unincorporated communities, including Hopland, Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Willits, Alderpoint, Rio Dell, Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata, and Blue Lake.

The proposed trail would connect to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) rail trail in Marin and Sonoma counties to establish an interregional corridor between the North Bay communities of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Arcata/Eureka communities around Humboldt Bay.

Once completed, it would be the longest rail trail in the nation, providing a continuous regional trail corridor, as well as key trail connections to local and regional destinations.

The trail will be designed and managed to protect and enhance the surrounding natural environment and cultural resources, respect neighboring properties, and offer safe and equitable access for a wide range of users, including hikers, equestrians, cyclists, runners, wheelchair users, and others. The trail would consist of a variety of trail surface types over its 231 miles, including paved multi-use, crushed-stone multi-use, and backcountry trails.

Amenities along the trail would include trailheads, parking areas, parks, rest areas, restrooms, potable water, river/water access, campgrounds, public art, and wayfinding signage. Where major physical barriers exist, including landslides, rail infrastructure failures, sensitive habitat areas, or sensitive cultural sites, the proposed project would re-route the trail within GRTA right-of-way, provide a loop trail or parallel route on public lands, reconstruct failed infrastructure, structurally reinforce the trail, or install context-specific design solutions (such as a boardwalk through sensitive areas).

The proposed project would be planned, designed, constructed, and operated to create multiple and overlapping community benefits, including:

  • Creating a world-class recreational experience that accommodates many different user groups (hikers, bikers, equestrians, rafting, and more);
  • providing non-automobile access to State Parks and other public land;
  • expanding wildfire resilience, vegetation management, and fire-fighting access;
  • protecting tribal cultural resources and other cultural resources;
  • protecting known sensitive plant and animal species and aquatic resources;
  • restoring habitat for wildlife and enhancing native landscaping;
  • implementing watershed restoration and fish passage improvements;
  • creating and helping to facilitate economic development opportunities (trail amenities, guide services, and accommodations);
  • expanding green infrastructure and sustainable transportation networks; and
  • cleaning up hazardous materials and other railroad-related waste.

Come learn more about this exciting project!

Elaine Hogan is the first executive director of the Great Redwood Trail Agency, a newly formed public agency created in 2022 to replace the North Coast Railroad Authority. Prior to this role, Elaine worked for the County of Humboldt in the Healthy Communities Division of DHHS Public Health, where she managed the planning and implementation of grant-funded health education programs. She became bilingual after serving three years in the Peace Corps, living in a rural village in the mountains of Honduras. Elaine holds a B.A. in political science with a minor in geography from Humboldt State University, and a M.S. in international development studies from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She lives in Blue Lake and currently serves on the Blue Lake Planning Commission.

The Great Redwood Trail Agency was established in 2022 to develop and manage the Great Redwood Trail. Learn more: