Capdiamont\’s Weblog

There is no plan for railbanking of Humboldt railroad
Monday 25 Jun 2012, 12:50
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.



Otherwise it is an unconstitutional taking of land.

Only if the value of the land with a trail easement is significantly lower than the land with a railroad easement. I would personally be more likely to buy land with bikes riding across it than trains, but perhaps the market would prefer trains, I don’t know.

Comment by Eric Kirk

No Eric. Follow the link. There is an unbroken string of defeats on the railbanking issue. The courts have clearly ruled, it does not matter what the difference in value of rail versus trail. The new easement must be bought at fair market value, based that there is no railroad there. Otherwise, it is taking the land from land owners. Sixteen court cases, all have been ruled in favor of land owners.

Comment by capdiamont

my understanding that the NCRA already approves of rails WITH trails and there are plans:

one of the main issues is DFG not allowing public use of the levee system for trails.

Comment by unanonymous

You are entirely correct with NCRA approving rails with trails. I have not heard the DFG position before. Thank you for your input.

Comment by capdiamont

I think the latter is open for petition by public and could also be used as a way to update and improve the decaying levee system. There are numerous fish passage, inundation, ag preservation projects that can piggy back along with rail and trail building to help fund efforts. A trail that creatively uses both levee and rail alignment (east- and west-side of highway) will benefit the community the most.

Comment by unanonymous

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