We live in a beautiful place and we are reminded of this every time we bike, walk, or drive around Humboldt Bay. Unfortunately, for many years these scenic coastal views have been marred by the presence of unsightly billboards jutting up along the Highway 101 Safety Corridor between Arcata and Eureka. 

Humboldt Baykeeper has been working for several years to have these billboards removed - legally and permanently. There have been many unsuccessful attempts in the past to remove these billboards, but in Sept. 2013, the California Coastal Commission responded to our calls to address this blight. Since then, Caltrans has finally revoked permits for most of the billboards along the bay. Since 2012, 15 fewer billboards obstruct our beautiful bay views between Arcata and Eureka, and today only 4 remain. We will continue our efforts until they are all gone for good.

Next Thursday, the Humboldt County Planning Commission is scheduled to consider a Special Permit to rebuild a billboard on wetlands adjacent to the Elk River near King Salmon.

The billboard uprights snapped in a windstorm on Nov. 27, and although billboards are not allowed in wetlands or floodplains - and the County does not allow billboards anywhere but lands zoned for commercial or industrial uses - the County staff is reportedly developing recommendations based on the "casualty" exemption for non-conforming uses (meaning that the billboards were built before zoning and permitting).

Two billboards collapsed into Humboldt Bay wetlands in recent storms - one along the Highway 101 Safety Corridor, and one in the Elk River marsh adjacent to Highway 101, just south of Eureka. We will keep an eye on these to ensure that all applicable permitting and environmental review is done before any billboards can be rebuilt. 

These signs were all built long before current permitting and land use planning, and would never be allowed to be built in coastal wetlands today. 

Since 2012, 18 billboards have been removed from the shores of Humboldt Bay, mostly along the Highway 101 Safety Corridor between Arcata and Eureka.

 

In August, Caltrans announced that an agreement had been made with billboard giant Outfront Media to remove ten billboards along Highway 101 adjacent to Humboldt Bay. Even though six of the billboards had already had their permits revoked, this agreement was a big step forward and applauded by many. What Outfront Media will get in exchange is currently unknown.