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North Coast Rail Trail

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PLEASE NOTE THAT THE NORTH COAST RAIL TRAIL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC SHOULD NOT ENTER THE RIGHT OF WAY UNTIL SCCRTC ANNOUNCES THAT CONSTRUCTION OF THE TRAIL HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND THE TRAIL IS OPEN FOR PUBLIC USE.

The North Coast Rail Trail Project is a 7.5-mile multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail proposed to extend along the railroad corridor from Wilder Ranch State Park in the south to Davenport in the north in unincorporated Santa Cruz County. The project comprises the majority of Segment 5 of the larger Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail (MBSST) Network.

The North Coast Rail Trail is divided into three phases. Phase I covers 5.4 miles from Wilder Ranch to Panther/Yellowbank Beach. Phase II spans 2.1 miles from Panther/Yellowbank Beach to Davenport and includes new parking lots and restrooms in Davenport and at Panther/Yellowbank Beach, improved access to the parking lot at Bonny Doon Beach, and a pedestrian crossing of Highway 1 in Davenport. Phase III includes construction of the Cotoni Coast Dairies Highway 1 overpass that connects the Coastal Rail Trail on the coastal side of Highway 1 to Cotoni Coast Dairies National Monument on the inland side of Highway 1.

The North Coast Rail Trail Project Phases I-III is fully funded. Phase I and Phase II final design and permitting are scheduled to be complete in 2023 and construction funding is programmed for 2024. Phase III is scheduled to complete environmental review in 2024, design in 2025, and begin construction in 2027.

The RTC is working in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD). FHWA-CFLHD is the lead agency for design and construction of the North Coast Rail Trail. The RTC is the owner of the railroad right-of-way and is the agency responsible for overall implementation of the rail trail along the 32-mile rail corridor from Watsonville to Davenport.

Funding for design, environmental studies, construction, construction engineering, management, and permitting for this project comes from the Federal Lands Access Program, the California Coastal Conservancy, Measure D and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Partners include California State Parks and the County of Santa Cruz.

Environmental Review

California Environmental Quality Act

The RTC certified the Final EIR on March 7, 2019. The final EIR includes the following:

  • Volume 1 (43 MB): Comments submitted by agencies, organizations, and individuals concerning the 2018 Draft EIR and responses to those comments
  • Volume 2 (210 MB): The Draft EIR, with appropriate revisions made in response to comments for clarification or additional detail
  • Volume 3 (74 MB): Appendices to the Draft EIR

Addendum to the Certified 2019 Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) adopted March 5, 2020

National Environmental Policy Act

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFL) finalized the Environmental Assessment in October 2021.

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