HTC – 2021 Accomplishments
Though 2021 has been a challenging year, we have managed to accomplish a great deal. We continue to have virtual meetings for our Board of Directors and most committee meetings. It may not be as personal and as much fun, but we still manage to make progress on our trail goals.
Volunteer Trail Stewards (VTS): Our volunteers continue to maintain local trails throughout Humboldt County. During almost every weekend, one trail crew or another is helping the community to care for our recreational resources. During 2020, despite the restrictions posed by Covid, VTS volunteers performed 3609 hours of service on 7 local trails. Figures for 2021 VTS program are projected to be even higher (approximately 4500 hours). More detail is available here.
2021 Trails Summit: HTC became the lead organizer for the 2021 Trails Summit (held June 5th) which again featured presentations by Hank Seemann about the Humboldt Bay Trail and Senator Mike McGuire about the Great Redwood Trail.
There were also eight video clips, describing the current activities of a wide range of trails organizations. The HTC video presentation highlighted unique features of four of our VTS trails – Hammond Trail, Wigi Wetlands, Wharf Trail and Arcata Community Forest. The Trails Summit was recorded and is archived on our website so anyone can view the event here.
Formation of Volunteer Committee: HTC has formed a new committee to help with recruitment of volunteers for the VTS program and other HTC projects. The Committee is currently implementing the Volunteer Recognition Events to celebrate our many VTS volunteers who work on local trail maintenance.
E-newsletter: Our e-Newsletter is currently distributed to 999 subscribers through our contract with Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA). The newsletter which is distributed 5-6 times annually provides content to inform our trail enthusiasts (equestrians, cyclists and hikers) about trail development projects, pertinent legislation that may impact trail users, upcoming events, and much more. To subscribe, click on this link here.
HTC Website (humtrails.org) – increased functionality, more content, more frequent updates, ongoing listing of events and trail workdays, PHOTOS! Board member Steve Jones has done a great job of organizing the website to be more user-friendly and has maintained the calendar and other pages to keep information timely.
Advocacy committee continues to support the development of:
The detailed Advocacy Committee report can be viewed here.
HTC donation: HTC has arranged for a donation of trail counters to County of Humboldt; the trail counters will be used to gather data on number and types of trail users for two local trails. The two counters will be installed near the Eureka Slough Bridge and on the Hammond Trail in McKinleyville.
Such trail usage information is critical for grant applications, decision-making for local trail development, and much more. Hank Seemann, Deputy Director of Environmental Services in Humboldt County Public Works Department, notes that this donation will enable the County to obtain accurate data on trail use, better understand our trail users, and develop information that can support trail planning and management.
Volunteer recognition events: HTC has organized several Volunteer events to recognize the valuable contributions of our many VTS volunteers who maintain trails throughout Humboldt County. We are designating October as Volunteer Recognition Month to celebrate with the VTS volunteers and let them know how much the community appreciates their trail maintenance efforts over these last 11 years.
At this time, the Volunteer Recognition Events have already commenced with celebrations on the Hammond Trail in McKinleyville and Wharf Trail in Eureka. We will continue these celebrations during the month of October until we have honored all the volunteers on the six trails that hold monthly VTS trail workdays. Speakers included:
VTS Coordinator: Rachael Garcia has been hired as the new VTS Coordinator after departure of previous VTS coordinator Renee Thibodeau. Rachael has just started in mid-August and is busy visiting all the trail sites to become acquainted with the Trail Coordinators, the volunteers and the trails. Below is her “Trail Biography”:
Rachael Garcia began trail blazing at an early age, helping build a mountain path and clearing brush on her family’s farm in rural San Diego County. In high school she joined Cuyamaca Rancho State Park’s trail maintenance unit, tending to one of her favorite places to hike and camp. As a frequent traveler enthralled with California’s biodiversity, Rachael loves to venture from the Lost Coast to the Mojave Desert. The most thrilling trails she’s trekked are upper Yosemite Falls and the Half Dome summit. In 2012, Rachael felt called to the redwoods and came to Humboldt State to study environmental science. She currently enjoys working at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center, helping coordinate VTS activities, riding her bike and exploring the Arcata Community Forest and Trinidad SB. Her favorite local trail is the Rockefeller Loop at Bull Creek Flats. Rachael is excited to help support and enhance trails in our community, and looking forward to the expansion of VTS programs and trail sites.
Trail Moments: HTC participated in the Trail Moments project sponsored by our national partner organization, Rail-to-Trail Conservancy. The Trail Moments signs (posted on several trails during 2020 and early 2021) invited trail users to submit comments about the trails through online media. The Rail-to-Trail Conservancy collected the comments from each county or region and then shared all the comments.
Humboldt County received many positive and thoughtful comments about the value of trails to local people especially during the isolation that many people experienced due to the pandemic. Since the Trail Moments signs were posted in both English and Spanish, we received many comments from Latinx residents which added to the richness and variety of the trail user responses and perspectives.
Here are two brief examples of the Trail Moments:
“Since I don’t bike commute to the office anymore, I use trails for exercise. I have learned to observe birds more and trails are a great place to see them.”
“Good for the family to breathe air and not stare at a screen. My kids learn so much and enjoy the discoveries only found outside by doing and exploring. “
HTC Slate of Officers for 2022
One of the important functions of the Annual Meeting/Annual Report is to inform our trail members of the functioning of the Board of Directors. Each year in September/October, the board selects a slate of officers for the coming calendar year. At our September board meeting, the following officers were nominated and accepted for service in 2022:
President – Michael Proulx
Vice President – Bruce Silvey
Treasurer – Kemset Moore
Secretary – Stevie Luther