Erosion Near Fleener Creek Continues

photo/video taken by Redwood News reporter Lauren Brenner at Fleener Creek trail-head parking lot, less than one month apart
photo/video taken by Redwood News reporter Lauren Brenner at Fleener Creek trail-head parking lot, less than one month apart

Fleener Creek is part of the Lost Coast Headlands, which is an onshore unit of the California Coastal National Monument.

Ongoing erosion near the Fleener Creek trailhead led to its immediate closure, with no reopening date in site. 

Collin Ewing, Field Manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata field office, says small landslides have been occurring in the area since January.

“We’ve had to close the trail,” says Ewing, “We closed the trailhead and the trail in January, and since then there’s been more landslides that have caused more erosion. And actually part of the parking lot trailhead has now actually been eroded off, so it’s really not a safe place for people to be.”

If your heart is set on exploring the lost coast headlands, Collin says there are alternative trails and areas to visit.

“The county has put up signs closing the road at the old navy base parking lot, which is a BLM rec site. So you can still go to the navy base parking lot and pull in just past Centerville beach there. And you can stop and there’s a bathroom and there are some trails there. But, you know, those aren’t the trails that go down to the ocean, so I understand if people aren’t as excited to go there,” he said.

As far as the Fleener Creek trail, it may be time to bid it farewell, for good. 

“I mean, basically the whole area has eroded away,” Ewing continues, “So the trail is not usable anymore.  The trailhead doesn’t really exist, or at least parts of it don’t exist. So we’re really just going to have to reassess after things, settle down, you know, and see what’s left and what might make a good trail or trailhead or maybe that’s not a good place to have a trail and trailhead. You know, the Guthrie creek trail is still intact, but the road’s closed right now.”

Residents who live in the area have contacted Redwood News, voicing their concerns with the road, and a reopening date has yet to be announced, and the future of Fleener Creek trail remains uncertain.  

“Fleener Creek trail is no more. Whether there will be a new Fleener Creek trail someday, I really don’t know.

Centerville resident Alden Book wrote to Redwood News and said:
“My concerns are that this is an active slide and the county doesn’t have a plan for the residents beyond that point. Sooner or later, the road is going to cave in and we will be isolated and trapped in our homes or away from our homes. We have animals that depend on us for food and care. Worst case scenario would be the slide taking a passing vehicle down the 400-ft cliff…”

Redwood News reached out to Humboldt County’s Department of Public Works and learned that they will be joining the Bureau of Land Management in the area on Monday to assess the ongoing slide and will likely be requesting a state of emergency to acquire funds to immediately relocate Centerville road.

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