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.
Two billboards that crumbled under strong winds in that powerful pre-Thanksgiving storm may be gone for good. The Humboldt County Planning Commission is expected to decide their fate at a public meeting sometime in the next two months.
One of the two billboards face-planted on the north side of Hwy. 101 between Arcata and Eureka. When the tide was high this billboard’s footing was nearly submerged by the waters of Arcata Bay.
The other billboard was south of Eureka between Humboldt Hill and Elk River Road, on the east side of the freeway. It, too, sat close to coastal waters, near the confluence of Elk River and Swain Slough.
Jennifer Kalt, executive director of Humboldt Baykeeper, has been among the most vocal critics of these roadside advertisements. She said the latest two to fall should not be resurrected.
“These billboards should never have been built in coastal wetlands and shouldn’t be rebuilt since the county code only allows them in commercial and industrial land,” she told the Outpost.
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.