Over 500 cyclists participated in the 4th Annual Rail and Trail Day on Saturday, May 17 2008 to celebrate rail and bike travel and support local efforts to create a 31 mile trail along the Union Pacific rail corridor that runs along the Santa Cruz coast from Davenport to Watsonville, California.
The cyclists met at Santa Cruz Depot where they loaded bikes, trailers, and other gear onto a train chartered from the Roaring Camp Railroad. Adults and children had fun as they talked and shared snacks on the ride up the San Lorenzo Valley through redwood groves to the Roaring Camp depot near Felton. After they got off the train and unloaded their bikes, they cut over to the Henry Cowell State Forest visitor center parking lot and lined up for the ride down Highway 9 from Felton back to Santa Cruz.
The purpose of the ride is the drum up support for a proposed rail trail along the Santa Cruz Coast. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Agency has agreed to purchase the rail right of way from Union Pacific, but funding is not available. According to Friends of the Rail Trail (FORT), the county can use Proposition 116 funds, and to get those funds the county must implement public transportation service along the corridor. Ride organizers encouraged participants to contact the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission to express their support for the coast railroad acquisition.
Micah Posner, director of the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group People Power Santa Cruz, joked that there wouldn't be a "5th Annual Rail Trail Day because we'll have our trail by then!"
My children and I had a great time on this ride and we topped it off with a visit to Marianne's Ice Cream on Ocean Street afterwards. Yum!