Projects await budget approval

July 02, 2001 12:00 am

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Four projects which may help develop Del Norte Countys economy are vying for the governors attention this summer.

State Legislator Virginia Strom-Martin got the projects added to the states proposed budget recently after pleading the case of Del Nortes limping economy.

Definitely, thats how she could get these items in at this point, said Barbara Ellis, Strom-Martins field representative.

Two biking trails, the Aleutian Goose Festival and the effort to turn 25,000 acres of old Stimson Lumber land into a new state park are projects that stand to gain if the budget is approved as written.

Ellis warned though, that competition will be tough for this years smaller pot of state money.

Legislators from all over the state are pushing for their own countys projects. This week, Assembly member Ken Maddox (R) of Garden Grove slammed the request to put $100,000 into the Aleutian Goose Festival.

The probability of getting $22 million for the Stimson Lumber land may be difficult, too.

As an area consumed by National and State parks, Del Norte County may lose out to urban areas lacking parks.

Rick Sermon, superintendent of Redwood National and State Parks said getting the Stimson land is important.

Sermon pointed out that protecting that area would fill in a gap between Six Rivers National Forest and the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.

That link would safeguard a contiguous watershed and known migration patterns of several species of wildlife, he added.

Weve had everybody we can think of up here from Chesbros office and Strom-Martins office to show them the value of this, Sermon said.

Transferring 25,000 acres to public ownership, however, means less tax revenue for the countys coffers.

But Sermon said the parks department will work with the county to ease that burden. County officials have given the nod to the sale if those mitigation efforts are successful.

The bike trail projects will be owned by the county and could help keep tourists in town longer and attract new residents.

Ernie Perry, of the countys community development department, helped get the trail proposals on the governors desk.

Its all been coming together piece by piece, Perry said.

The county has purchased the old Hobbs-Wall railroad right-of-way. From Parkway Drive at Washington Boulevard to Elk Valley Road at Howland Hill, bicyclists could ride for miles paralleling town, then connect into the state parks trails.

If smiled upon, that project is up for $680,000.

Part of the land for another bike trail project is also ready.

Perry said Do you ever wonder why there are no houses south of the city limit on the west side of Pebble Beach Drive?

The county has been slowly purchasing that land for the Lighthouse to Lighthouse project a scenic bike trail that may be developed in conjunction with Crescent Citys plan for a cliffside trail.

That project stands to get a $1.4 million allocation if approved in the final budget.

To help fight for the funds, Ellis encourages Del Norte County citizens to write to Governor Gray Davis. The more support shown for these projects and justification for their existence, the better the chances for their success, she said.

On Tuesday, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors signed a letter to the governor asking him to approve the requests.

Address letters to: Governor Gray Davis, Capitol Building No. 1114, Sacramento, Calif. 95814.