The first steps have been taken in creating a Napa Valley Vine Trail, a multi-use path, which, when completed in about 10 years, will stretch from the Vallejo Ferry Terminal to Calistoga, a total of almost 50 miles. The ferry connects hikers and bikers to downtown San Francisco.
“The first section was just dedicated in Yountville—about 4,000 feet—financed mainly by the Federal stimulus packages,” says Chuck McMinn of Vineyard 29, who heads a vine trail coalition of 18 community organizations including grape growers, vintners and environmental organizations.
When finished, the 10-foot wide, multiuse path—“for walkers runners, bikers, wheelchairs, everybody”—will traverse some of Napa’s most famous vineyards and wineries. “Any vineyard or winery that fronts on Highway 29 will be within 50 feet of the trail,” McMinn says. Wineries along the way will be asked to designate spaces in existing parking lots for those seeking access to the trail.
“The trail won’t just be for tourists,” McMinn says, “as studies show that at least half of the usage will be by local residents.” About 7.5 miles of the trail already exists in rough form, and easements for the rest are expected to be obtained over the next year. “All the owners we have talked with are enthusiastic,” McMinn says.
The trail is expected to cost about $45 million, including engineering studies and building it, with a majority coming from federal and states monies released over the 10-year period.