There are always so many to thank when good things happen. The June 2 ceremony at the Napa River Bay Trail celebrated another step in a great partnership between the Napa County Regional Park & Open Space District, the city of American Canyon, Dept. of Fish & Game, Napa-Vallejo Waste Management Authority, State Coastal Conservancy, State Lands Commission, the non-profit SF Bay Trail Project and citizen advocates and elected representatives.
So, how did it begin? With a phone call that Congressman Mike Thompson secured funding for the city and that the park & open space district was looking for a path from American Canyon to Napa. It made sense to do something together.
By making that call to our general manager, John Woodbury, it put all this in motion. Working together as a team:
• Laura Thompson, project manager for the Bay Trail Project, who together with her staff articulated the vision of the SF Bay Trail and provided constant support and encouragement.
• Karey Taylor, associate wildlife biologist, and Larry Wyckoff, senior wildlife biologist, both with the California Department of Fish and Game led the salt plant restoration project which restored hundreds of acres of tidal wetlands, and made it possible to construct the trail on the former salt pond levees.
• Jeff Peters, Margaret Henderson and Carl Nelson of Questa Engineering went way above and beyond their contract obligations in designing and managing construction of the trail.
• Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, whose support was critical to obtaining needed permits and state funding.
The idea for a loop trail around this closed landfill began nearly 40 years ago when the state land commission required the operator, of what was then a private landfill to grant an easement for future public access as part of an expansion permit.
After a feasibility study that showed such a trail could be possible, it led to the use of federal funds to build the first segment. Finished last year, it provided the first public connection in American Canyon to the Napa River. The federal dollars made it possible for our park district to get a million dollar state grant to build the trail around the landfill and north to Green Island Road.
Special thanks should go to several people who helped record the audio messages you can listen to as you walk the trails to learn about the history and ecology of the area:
• Anna Niklewicz, an American Canyon Middle School teacher, got her class involved in making the recordings. Itzel Sanchez, a junior from New Technology High School, recorded the Spanish version of the audio messages. George Deocampo, a city of American Canyon public works department employee, recorded the English messages.
• Members of the American Canyon Open Space Commission who recruited and organized many volunteers to help with installing interpretive panels, doing extensive cleanup of trash, and regular monitoring and reporting on trail conditions.
Finally, I would like to note that with the completion of the trails between here and Green Island Road, our focus at the district is now shifting to continue the trail north of Green Island Road and ultimately extend this bicycle and pedestrian path all the way to the city of Napa. It’s so fitting that the Loop Trail, with its combination of close up nature and grand vistas, be named after our Congressman Mike Thompson, who loves wildlife and has a strong strategic vision and obtained the first funding for the city of American Canyon that made the entire project possible.
Myrna Abramowicz is the District 5 representative of Napa County Regional Park & Open Space District