Walking at Bodega Bay

Many of you know that I love to walk at the coast. The State of California improved some trails and created  new ones at Bodega Head and then closed them due to budget cuts. However, the need is high for trails both of beauty and safety.

I am happy to share this article by Vesta Copestakes from the Sonoma County Gazette. She describes the process, the history, the proposals and the challenge to make more trails happen. (When I go to Doran Beach, I often use the Cheney Gulch access – a trail that has already happened.)

After reading, please visit the links in her article and lend a hand if you can. For her paper, click Sonoma County Gazette.

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Bodega Bay Coast Trail UPDATE

By Vesta Copestakes

This was one of the more peaceful meetings I attended in June! It’s an update of what WILL happen and what is planned for the future.

The can’t happen yet aspect of the update is a sad case of funding that WAS available, but because the process took so long to approve, the money went away.  On the bright side – if you really don’t want something to happen – stall it long enough and it will go away. On the dark side…if you really want something to happen, you’d better be part of making sure it DOES happen, or it will go away and could take a VERY long time before it comes back – if ever.  Just a thought.

At the bottom of this article is a request for volunteers who would like to be part of the Citizens Advisory Committee. If this matters to you – this is your chance to make it move forward.

I am pulling segments from Regional Parks documents on this project to make sure I represent it accurately. For the FULL document with ALL the information you need to know this subject fully, please visit the Regional Parks web site or use the contact information at the end of this article. http://parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov search for Bodega Bay Bike & Pedestrian Trail. (Or try Bodega Bay Trail)

History

The Bodega Bay Trail Pedestrian & Bicycle Project Plan was approved in August 2010 and is part of the 1200 mile California Coastal Trail which follows our unique coastline from Del Norte  to San Diego. Yes, people walk this. There are hiking maps as well as fishing information and all kinds of interesting things to learn at www.californiacoastaltrail.info. Stay strong and healthy and you’ll be able to do this!  Segments of this trail are fully developed, and other segments are in the planning stages. The Bodega Bay Trail is a combination of complete and planned.

What’s important to the Bodega Bay segment is that, when completed, there will be a SAFE way for pedestrians to walk from one end of town to the other. Right now even a bicycle is risky.

The primary bike routes include development of 3.4 miles of bike and pedestrian (Class 1) pathway and 4 miles of shoulder (Class 2) bike lanes along Highway 1. A major project component is construction of over a mile of waterfront boardwalk with access to retail shops, restaurants and scenic overlooks of Bodega Bay Harbor.

Secondary bicycle and pedestrian routes will provide pathway connections to surrounding parks, marinas and educational facilities including Spud Point Marina and Bodega Bay Marine Lab.

 A conceptual plan and feasibility study was completed in September 2005. You can see these take time to complete!

Building the TrailBodega Bay Coast Trail UPDATE - Trail Diagram

Regional Parks in partnership with State Parks is responsible for implementing the primary Class 1 pedestrian and bikeway segments of the project parallel to Highway 1. Caltrans is responsible for implementing the Class 2 bike lanes along Highway 1 right of way, and Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works is responsible for implementing the connecting Class 1 pedestrian and bikeway projects and Class 2 bike lanes along the County road.

Funding for the proposed pedestrian and bikeway improvements come from a variety of Regional, State, Federal and Special Transportation and Recreational Programs. County Measure M transportation tax includes funding earmarked for the Bodega Bay Trail project. For more information on Measure M visit the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) website.

As each of the project segments is further defined, more site-specific environmental work will be needed for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Trail Segments

The Regional Parks Department is responsible for completion of 8 segments of bike and pedestrian pathway totaling 3.4 miles in length. These segments are organized into development phases, in the order that they have received environmental clearance and funding:

Cheney Creek TrailCheney Creek Bridge Trail – Segment 6C completed in 2008 – connecting Doran Beach Regional Park to Bird Walk

Coastal Prairie Trail— Segment 1B & 1C planned for 2013 – 2015 – delayed because of environmental reviews that delayed funding (see above). Located at the most northern end of the Bodega Bay Trail project, a bikeway is planned to travel through the coastal prairie areas of the Sonoma Coast State Park and County owned land offering an alternative for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling along Highway One.

A cooperative agreement between State Parks and Regional Parks for trail facility installation and maintenance will be needed prior to construction. An estimated $1.2 million in funding is needed for the Coastal Prairie Trail phase of the project. Of this amount, approximately $800,000 is currently budgeted from existing funds.

Harbor Coastal Trail — Segments 3D-2, 5B & 6B

This 1 mile of pathway, including over 0.3 miles of boardwalk, is in the planning stage. It goes through the County Birdwalk Coastal Access Regional Park, public tidelands and the right of way along State Highway 1 and Smith Brothers (County) Road. Aerial Topographic mapping has been prepared and Right of Way negotiation with the owners of the Tides and Lucas Wharf will be needed to complete the design of the pathway alignment.

An estimated $2.0 million in funding is needed for this phase of the project.

North Harbor Coastal Trail — Segments 2B & 3D-1

This 1 mile of pathway, including over 0.6 miles of boardwalk will travel through Bodega Dunes State Park, along the right of way of Eastshore Road and the public tidelands of Bodega Bay Harbor. Right of Way negotiation with State Parks and the owners of the Porto Bodega Marina property will be needed to complete this alignment.

Next Steps

The next step for Regional Parks in the Bodega Bay Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail Project is to complete the Coastal Prairie Trail phase of the project. To receive existing grant funding, this project phase needs to have the regulatory permits issued, complete the federal environmental review process, complete a cooperative agreement with State Parks, and be ready for bidding by August 2013.

The middle 2 miles of the pathway, the Harbor Coastal Trail and North Harbor Coastal Trail phases of the project will need to secure $3.9 million in additional funding for final planning design, acquisition and construction. Regional Parks is currently using a planning grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, Park Mitigation fees, and measure M funds to complete planning and design for this phase of the project. Once the planning and design has been completed, a neighborhood scoping meeting will be scheduled.

Citizens Advisory Committee

The Sonoma County Regional Parks Department is in the process of re-establishing the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Bodega Bay Trail project. The committee is an advisory body and provides recommendations to the Regional Parks Department with respect to the Bodega Bay Trail project. This committee will focus on the southern trail segments (North Harbor Coastal Trail and Harbor Coastal Trail) from the Bodega Bay Community Center to the Birdwalk Coastal Access Park.

Anyone interested in serving on the committee, please contact Ken Tam at (707) 565-3348 or by email to Ken Tam at Ken.Tam@sonoma-county.org

Questions or Comments?

Contact Project Managers:

Mark Cleveland Call:  (707) 565-3349
 Email: Mark.Cleveland@sonoma-county.org

or

Ken Tam Call:  (707) 565-3348 Email:  Ken.Tam@sonoma-county.org

Thanks again to Vesta Copestakes and the Sonoma County Gazette.

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