To Our Coast
Planing the Fort Bragg Coastal Trail
from Noyo to Pudding Creek
Fort Bragg, a town of 7,000 residents located on the remote and spectacular Mendocino Coast, is a three hour drive north of San Francisco. For the past century, a lumber mill operated on the coast of Fort Bragg's 3 1/2 mile long stretch of coastline and was largely inaccessible to residents and visitors. In 2002 Georgia Pacific Corp. permanently closed the mill and plans are underway for reuse of the 425-acre Mill Site. In 2002, the State Department of Parks & Recreation acquired a 37-acre coastal property located immediately north of the Mill Site, known as Glass Beach. It now comprises the southern end of MacKerricher State Park.
During the initial community visioning process for reuse of the former Mill Site, a community survey, focus groups and workshops were conducted to engage the community in a dialogue about the future of the community and the property. Throughout the discussions, the top priority identified by the community was to obtain public access to the coastline on the mill Site. Conversion of the Mill Site to other uses makes it possible for Fort Bragg to embrace its coastline - a resource with tremendous scenic and recreational potential.
Subsequently, the State Coastal Conservancy awarded a $4.165 million grant to the City to purchase 35 acres of parkland on the Mill Site. As part of the acquisition, Georgia Pacific agreed to donate a 100-foot wide "coastal trail corridor" along the entire coastline of the site. The coastal trail corridor comprises approximately 30 acres and is valued at approximately $3.3 million. Through the efforts of Congressman Mike Thompson, the City was awarded an additional $750,000 to help fund initial development of park facilities on the Mill Site parklands.
Since 2005, the City of Fort Bragg, together with the State Parks, the Mendocino Land Trust, and the State Coastal Conservancy, are engaged in a community planning process for the nearly four-mile segment of the California Coastal Trail that will traverse the coastline between Noyo Bay and Pudding Creek. This collaborative process has been guided and assisted by the National Park Service's "Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance" (RTCA) program. RTCA is a technical assistance program with a mission to advocate and assist community-based conservation efforts. RTCA has a partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) whereby ASLA members will provide pro-bono technical assistance on RTCA projects.
The planning area includes the Mill Site parklands and the adjacent Glass Beach headlands of MacKerricher State Park. The Glass Beach parcel was acquired by State Parks in 2002, but has had no formal planning or improvements. This planning process provides an opportunity to coordinate the planning for the Glass Beach headlands with the planning for the coastal trail and parkland along the Mill Site Coastline.