Also of note.........the letters submitted by all interested parties at the July NCRA meeting in Eureka should be required reading for all parties. The letters of John Williams and the NCRA attorney are particuarly interesting. They can be accessed on the NCRA website from the meeting minutes page.
As a 20th Century railroad the NWP was not involved with land grants, but established it's ROW between Ukiah and Alton by fee title and easements that everyone is arguing about here. Prior to SP and Santa Fe the historic railroads north of Alton and south of Ukiah had their own title and easement issues that folded into the NWP. None of this has an easy answer.
One thing is sure.......everyone should be on the prayer rug, praising Dan Hauser and others in the Legislature for creating the NCRA.......without which we would't be having this conversation. SP would have liquidated the assets and easements north of Willits 25 years ago, end of story.
Waldo is pretty much telling the way it will be........it ain't gonna happen. Law enforcement and medical issues would necessitate creation of some government entity just to deal with the social problems. Pitty the poor backcounty land owners who want no part of a trail, whatever their motive. Preserve the ROW under the NCRA for access and leave it at that. Maybe someday when pigs have wings and China rules the World there will once again be a need for a railroad to Humboldt Bay??
Talk, talk, talk.......sandbag, talk more, propose something, discuss it at the next meeting.......put it on the next agenda. Talk more, sandbag..........we'll all be dead before anything happens. Then 10 years after that somebody will say "that's a great idea, why didn't somebody think of it before now??
Rehabilitating a closed rail line such as the NWP is about one million dollars a mile considering a number of factors....several hundred thousand per mile under the best circumstances (ie just tie replacement and retamping).Just getting a few miles from Samoa to Arcata up to snuff to haul passengers for THA's tourist train is going to take a small fortune even though the rails are still there.
A good idea of the costs involved to restore a "heritage railroad" is Nevada's Virginia & Truckee. It took 6 years and 54 million dollars to restore ten miles of mountain railroad, roughly 2/3 of the total project. Rails had to be acquired and a relocation of right-of-way was necessary in one location which added to the costs. Even at less than half that cost it's a price few organizations or communities can afford.
Just railbank the Bay and give them a trail.
Not to minimize the importance of the railroad, but the first 30 years of the timber industry relied as much on animal power, water and the maritime interests as the remains of the timber economy today relies on trucks and maritime shipping. For a century the railroad played its part........steam and internal combustion drove the local innovation.
The only major difference I see between the two groups is 140 miles and one group being a bit more successful at development. Both counties share a similar industrial and transportation history. The Maritime Museum, THA and Roots all share a regional theme of industrial technology, ship building, railroads, mills and machine shops that made the theme "timber heritage" what it is.
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In Print This Week:
Feb 16, 2017
vol XXVIII issue 7
Under the Color of Authority
The North Coast Journal
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