The Open Space, Parks & Trails Special Tax was approved by Arcata voters in November 2020 as an annual tax of $37 per parcel within City limits. Revenue from the Special Tax supports the protection, maintenance and expansion of Arcata’s parks, trails and natural open space areas. This additional funding allows the City to qualify for future cost share grants to acquire land or easements, to construct a trail or habitat restoration work, or implement park improvements. Several high priority projects within the City’s open spaces have been completed since the inception of the Special Tax such as the Arcata Ridge Trail, access to the Mad River at Carlson Park, new playground equipment at Bloomfield Park, the bicycle pump track at Redwood Park, and fish and water quality monitoring on Jolly Giant and Janes Creeks.
To ensure oversight of the Special Tax, an Open Space Special Tax Ad Hoc group reviews expenditures and makes recommendations to the City Council for priority projects. The Ad Hoc Group is comprised each year of two representatives from each of the three City Committees with a purview around open space: Wetlands and Creeks, Forest Management, and Parks and Recreation Committees.
Special Tax-funded Projects
Since the Open Space, Parks & Trails Special Tax started generating revenue for the City in 2021, several public access, habitat and open space stewardship projects have been completed.
- The final segment of the long-anticipated multi-use Arcata Ridge Trail connecting the Arcata Community Forest Tract with the Sunny Brae Forest Tract was completed in fall 2022.
- Revenue from the Special Tax supported the City’s acquisition of a public access easement and later fee title to access the Mad River from Carlson Park.
- The Special Tax has supported fish and water quality monitoring on Jolly Giant and Janes Creeks in order to inform and advance habitat restoration grants.
- In addition, forest road and culvert improvements have been supported through the Special Tax within the Arcata Community Forest.
- Park improvements have most recently been implemented in 2023 at Bloomfield Park and with a new bicycle pump track at Redwood Park.
- City staff anticipate completing improvements in 2024 at the Margaret Lane trailhead of the Sunny Brae Forest for enhanced equestrian and bicycle access.