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Rail Gazing 


Read Jen Savage's "Reluctant Cyclist" article (Aug. 20) with interest. I live in the Arcata "bottoms" not far from Samoa Boulevard and have had occasion to ride the routes she accurately described. Whenever I drive along Samoa Boulevard I always see the possibility of a safe, separate route to Manila for hikers and cyclists, namely, the old railroad right-of-way parallel to the highway now overgrown with brush. The perfect place but there is a "fly in the ointment."

Specifically the North Coast Railroad Authority. In pursuit of the pipedream of reviving the now-defunct NWP route, they continually obstruct every effort to rail bank and utilize for trails any portion of the right-of-way, evidently for fear of losing it permanently. Evidently, the board of directors and staff of NCRA are unfamiliar with this concept of rail banking which has been widely and successfully used all across the country. Is it too bold to suggest that perhaps this debt-ridden and moribund state agency has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had, at least in Humboldt County?

Richard S. Wilson, Arcata

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