Daily Archives: January 11, 2013

New parks to open in 2013

From the 1.9.13 edition

By Jack Durham

Press Editor & Reporter


Two new parks will open in McKinleyville this year – one on the banks of the Mad River, the other near the corner of School Road and Washington Avenue.

In addition, Pierson Park will get a new covered picnic area, and the final design should be completed for the proposed teen center.

McKinleyville Parks and Recreation Director Jason Sehon discussed some of the improvements during an interview last week.

Mad River park

The MCSD now owns 33 acres of riverfront property south of the intersection of North Bank Road and Azalea Avenue. However, the County of Humboldt owns property between the new park and North Bank Road.

The MCSD, Sehon said, is working with the county to obtain access over its property.

“Once we obtain access, our goal is to open it up,” Sehon said.

There’s a small, makeshift parking area on the property and there are existing trails.

Sometime in the spring, when things dry up, Sehon said he wants to organize a public tour of the property.

While the initial goal is to just get the property opened up to the public, there are all sorts improvements that could be pursued in future years.

There may be grant funding available for a boat launch, Sehon said. The area  would also be ideal for a disk golf course. Sehon has previously mentioned creating a gazebo or other facilities that could be used for parties, weddings and special events.

Washington Ave. park property

For more than a year, the McKinleyville Community Services District has worked to purchase three acres of property for a park near School Road and Washington Avenue. The deal has been held up by a lot line adjustment that needed to be processed through the county Planning Department.

But by the end of this month, the MCSD should own the property, which wraps around behind the house located at the northwest corner of the intersection.

As with the Mad River park, the first order of business with the Washington property is to create public access. The MCSD hasn’t figured where the access point will be for the property, which touches McKinleyville Avenue, School Road and a street in the new subdivision to the west.

Sehon said that the MCSD will consult with the California Fish & Wildlife Department regarding the removal of invasive plant species. The property will be mowed. People can hike the trails and walk their dogs.

The property was sold to the MCSD for $128,000 by the McKinleyville Union School District. The MUSD purchased the land years ago for a possible campus, but it was later discovered that the property contains an earthquake fault.

The MCSD paid for the property using Quimby Funds, which are paid by developers to help fund recreational facilities.

Covered picnic area

The district plans to build a large covered picnic area at Pierson Park. It would be located between the bocce ball courts/horseshoe pits and the playground, in an area that was previously occupied by a modular office building.

The picnic area will cost about $50,000. Preliminary designs call for a 25 foot by 60 foot covered picnic area. However, that may be scaled back so the project can be built within the budget.

The modular office building, which was used as a caretaker’s residence in the mid-1990s when the park was first built, has been moved to an area between the McKinleyville Sheriff’s Office and the McKinleyville Library. Half of the building is used by the California Conservation Corps in exchange for providing services to the MCSD. The other half us used as a break room for the Sheriff’s Office.

Teen Center

This year will be one of planning and design for the proposed teen center. The architect is has met with teens and is working on the design, including several different options for a commercial kitchen.

The design will be brought back to the MCSD and reviewed by staff, teens, the McKinleyville Recreation Advisory Committee and, ultimately, the MCSD Board of Directors.

The MCSD hopes to finish the design process this year. In spring of 2014, it hopes to break ground on the project.


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Fish Habitat Ruined in McK; Thief with chainsaw steals fish-friendly logs from School Road bluff project


By Jack Durham

Press Editor & Reporter


Redwood logs installed at the foot of School Road to slow down flows in the Mad River and provide fish and wildlife habitat were stolen sometime in November.

“It’s a real head scratcher why someone would do that,” said Hank Seemann, Deputy Director of the Environmental Services division of Humboldt County Public Works.

It’s also a head scratcher as to how the logs were stolen. Someone had to use a chainsaw, and possibly a boat or barge to cut and haul the 3-foot-diameter logs. The heavy, water-laden logs were embedded in rock, with about six feet sticking out into the water at the base of what’s called the Mad River Streambank Protection Project.

The job of handling the timbers and getting them on to a boat or up the embankment would have been a major undertaking.

The thief, or thieves, sliced the logs off flush with the boulder groins that they stick out from.

A neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was paddle boarding on the Mad at the end of November when he noticed that the logs were cut off.

The $1.5 million Mad River Streambank Protection Project was built in the fall of 2008 to protect nearby homes from river erosion. High winter flows had eaten away at the bluff and threatened to wash away some of the homes. The streambank project included the placement of large boulders and a mattress of willow plants along 1,300 feet at the base of the bluff along the river. There were eight separate rock groins along the bank, each with a couple redwood logs sticking out into the water. Those logs are now gone.

“It’s a loss,” Seemann said.

The logs, he noted, were designed to slow down the turbulence in the river and give wildlife habitat.

“It was a nice habitat feature,” Seemann said.

But, Seemann said, the streamside project will continue to protect the bluff.

“It does not compromise the integrity of the structure,” Seemann said.

Scott Bauer, Coho Recovery Coordinator with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, said the theft ruined what little fish habitat was included in the project.

Wardens have been informed about the incident, Bauer said, but it’s unlikely the thief will get caught.

“Without a witness the odds of us locating the perpetrator are pretty thin,” Bauer said.

Unfortunately, Bauer said, it’s not uncommon for people to take wood from local rivers. This, he said, removes fish habitat. People need to learn to leave logs alone and keep them in the river, he said.

Being that the stolen logs were embedded in the Mad River Streamside Protection Projection, the only way to repair the damage would be a major reconstruction project, which isn’t economically feasible.

Anyone who may have witnessed the destruction is encouraged to call  1 888 DFG-CALTIP (888 334-2258).





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