For the next eight days, Fortuna residents can have their say in shaping a former mayor's dream into a 2-mile bike and hike trail along Strongs Creek.
The public comment period for the draft master plan of the proposed trail runs through April 17.
Retired Fortuna resident Kent Wrede said he and his wife walk their dog along Eel River several times a week.
"This trail helps connect people to the idea of nature and being outside," Wrede said. "We've seen a river otter several times, and it's fascinating because it's not in a zoo. We've also seen a deer cross the river -- when it's been low -- to graze. That's a wild animal, and there's no fence between us, which is terrific."
The trail --which will be about 12 feet wide -- will most likely be paved and include crushed gravel along the side for joggers or horses, according to the city's Community Development associate planner Stephen Avis.
"The idea for the trail came from John Campbell when he was mayor," Avis said. "After he was diagnosed with cancer, he was visiting his son in Utah, and they walked a trail like this from his house to the city center. He felt it was a wonderful experience that links destinations."
Avis added that the trail would connect shopping centers, a hospital, senior housing, some low-income neighborhoods and parks.
The draft will be formally introduced at the May 5 city council meeting.
Wrede said to be involved in a project of this large scale from the beginning is what is the most exciting part for him.
"For a city of this size to contemplate an idea like this is awesome, and I hope it gets completed during my lifetime," he said.
On the Web:
View the plan at friendlyfortuna.com/DocumentCenter/View/1957
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Simon can be reached at 441-0508 or email@example.com.