McKinleyville, California--Mid-Town Trail

The Mid Town Trail in McKinleyville is a narrow, virtually unseen corridor between two fences that extends from Parkside Drive to Railroad Drive. 

I recently noticed a father and son using the trail, which lent the young child in the company of his father a safe place to ride his bike.  A friend and her son take this trail from their nearby home on their way Ramone's on some mornings.  Occasionally, uninspired graffiti is freshly scribed over night only to be painted over soon thereafter, one maintenance job the trail requires due to its canvas like edges.  The trail is somewhat stark.  It's lack of openness has caused me to avoid it when I jog alone.

The trail system concept is a good one and one that community members want.  McKinleyville's trail system is a component system largely paid for by the builders who develop residential properties and later by the people who buy the neighboring homes.  The entire trail system including the Mid Town Trail though not a complete loop at present is a McKinleyville treasure.  The trail system as it exists adds value to the community both in terms of property value and quality of life value. 

In cases where the residential population density is greater, setting back fencing or excluding fencing to allow for a more substantial green space segment along the trail with seating and a public square like atmosphere may enhance the Mid Town Trail in the future, creating destinations along the trail.  Treating some of the open space as more of a quaint, elongated, public square in addition to being a pedestrian link to McKinleyville's trail system would allow the trail system to function for more than one purpose, cause it to be used more regularly, and make the trail system safer and more welcoming. 

With respect issue of visibility on the current stretch of the Mid Town Trail, simply broadening the path entrance and enhancing the landscaping simply about the entrance will noticeably open and enliven the space. 

We live in such a lush environment, appropriate plantings are something we can use to inexpensively enhance our landscape architecture.  I envision entrances to these paths quickly enhanced with a broad arbor and a couple of vines.  Furthermore, if the green space were more substantial and perfected, people would be less inclined to fence it out of their view or at least to have gates that happily access the space.  For any size of planting bed, there are plenty of plantings that if selected for appropriate mature size and adaptability to existing climate and culture will take much neglect and bestow much beauty on the space.  Please refer to the Blake Garden or the Humboldt Botanical Garden for examples of plantings requiring minimal care. 

Perhaps as the trail exists now, the local McKinleyville Community Garden Project could turn this trail into a manageable botanical garden encouraging neighbors to take ownership of it elevating the existing space to something beautiful and coveted, something to be visited and enjoyed.

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