Filed under: Arcata, bicycle, Eureka, Humboldt, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, trails
Tomorrow, our county Supervisors will be voting on a railbanking committee for the railroad. Judy Hodgson wishes you to believe there is a plan that everyone has agreed to. There is no such plan. Instead she uses her bully pulpit to bash the railroad. We also have a supervisor, Clif who has acted shamefully, by not putting the restoration of the railroad first and foremost as part of the railroad board.
There is no danger of losing the right of way to land owners. There has been no case of the land reverting back to land owners without the railroad deliberately abandoning the line. We own the railroad, so this will not be the case. Converting the railroad in to a trail requires going through the abandonment process. If an agreement is not reached with whomever takes over, the land will revert back to the land owners.
We, the public do not own most of the land, instead the railroad has an easement, that is literally stated in deeds as, “for railroad use only.” A trail is not a railroad use. There is an unbroken string of federal court cases stating exactly this. This means the lowball figure for trails given is wrong. An entirely new easement must be bought at fair market value, as though the railroad never existed. Otherwise it is an unconstitutional taking of land.
Further the usage figures have been overstated. The figures given are higher than a newly built trail in Marin, between to large population centers. How can this be?
We have yet to hear, how the maintenance of the trail will be paid for, or how much.
Also trail advocates understate the usage of the railroad.