My colleagues and I broke into peals of laughter when we read the March 1 feature in the Napa Valley Register titled "Vine Trail Solution Found." Cycling and other recreational activities are prohibited in the Ag Preserve by our General Plan, except on established transportation corridors or Caltrans’ easements. The Vine Trail Coalition believes it has found a way to circumvent this by having private property owners in the Ag Preserve and the county assume the liability for their unlawful conduct (private property owners by granting easements for which the Vine Trail would compensate them, and supervisors for approving the scheme). The county has no authority to rezone the Ag Preserve.
Ehlers Lane is NOT an established transportation corridor where otherwise such activities can be approved such as those that now take the Vine Trail from Napa to Yountville, and for City of Calistoga, using a former rail corridor, as a hike and bike lane from Washington Street to Dunaweal Lane.
The area between Ritchey Creek (Bothe-Napa Valley State Park) and Lodi Lane has very important game corridors and I can assure you it is "alive before 5 a.m." with everything from deer, foxes, cougars and other delights making their way from Pope Valley onto Howell Mountain, to the Bell area, and from Bell into Bothe from Ritchey Creek, and along the Mill Creek Corridor, and to Lodi Lane areas for "regular migration" from dens and lairs to water sources only available to them at the Napa River after July.
The 15 farmers served by Ehlers Lane -- that isn't 13 feet wide most of its length -- cannot fence themselves off to protect their crops and stock from the many trespassers and fruit, nut, and vegetable thieves that would run amok. And fencing would destroy the wildlife corridors.
As my father once said, "We grow enough here to be able to share a bit with the critters that come through, as long as they have four legs or wings." A person with two wheels on a bicycle "winging his way through" doesn't count.