Humboldt Bay has always been viewed as an important commercial asset for Humboldt County.
In 1855, the Union Plank Walk and Rail Track Company completed construction of a wharf and railroad that ran from the Arcata Plaza and down into the bay about two miles This wharf allowed ships to load and unload cargo during any tide. [Source here]
Many of the goods brought into the area were immediately packed onto mules and taken to the thousands of waiting gold miners working the inland rivers. As the logging industry grew, the wharf was often used to ship logs out of the county and into lumber hungry ports in other areas.
Arcata’s wharf is gone now-though I wasn’t able to find anything that told me why. A storm… neglect. Remnants are still visible from the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Many people still believe in Humboldt Bay’s viability as a commercial port.
Eureka is working to develop their wharf, with a fisherman’s terminal, commercial and residential areas as well as the Arkley’s “Marina Center”. The Marina Center developer says that the center will “clean up and restore a degraded parcel of land and create a better environment, community and economy for Eureka.” Those folks hope the new commercial center will give the community a much needed boost.
Detractors fear that options haven’t been explored enough. That folks are jumping too quick without considering other uses for the space… that the increased traffic and other impacts won’t be addressed and that the development will hurt the community more than it will help.
I won’t pretend to know enough of the details to give an educated opinion about the Marina Center, but I do know our economy is hurting. If someone had a better idea for the area, they should have stepped up and DONE something about it. Talk is easy… investing in an idea is something else entirely. I don’t remember people fighting over each other to risk their own money on a development.