Solage Paves The Way For Bike Trail

Any cyclist who’s ever been buzzed by a truck while riding in the “bike lane” on Route 29 can appreciate Solage Calistoga’s $16,000 donation to the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition. But the donation should also pay off for the tourists who visit the valley and rent bikes from one of the local shops or guests at Solage who borrow one of the resort’s house cruisers. Those cyclists who frequent the Silverado Trail will be familiar with the sight of tourists — out for what they probably envisioned as a romantic and pastoral ride through rolling vineyards — white-knuckling it on the shoulder as traffic thunders by at 65 miles an hour inches away.

By putting their money where the rubber meets the road — in the hands of the Napa Valley Wine Trail Coalition, a group working to create 47 miles of workable and safe cycling, running and walking trails that would connect Calistoga to the Vallejo Ferry Terminal — Solage shows an admirable commitment to one of the Valley’s most glaring inadequacies. Solage chose to make this upcoming Earth Day with the check, but donations are, of course, welcome throughout the year.

The trail currently exists as little more than a utopian vision, an equally utopian completed stretch in Yountville (the bike path equivalent of a show house), and in the hard work of a group of Coalition volunteers determined to bring that vision that to fruition.

Chuck McMinn, who is busy navigating the labyrinth of state, federal and local bureaucracies who can contribute the planning and some of the funding to make the trail a reality said, “Through partners like Solage, we hope to accelerate the construction of the project.” With state and local matching funds McMinn estimates that Solage’s donation gets the Coalition about a quarter of the way to where they need to be to start laying trail. “It allows us to leverage four times that amount in state and federal funding for construction of a portion of the trail, or perhaps even better, to leverage two times local funding for design and environmental review for a portion of the trail which most federal funds can not be used for,” he says. “Right now we are trying to raise $120K to complete a program Environmental Review on the whole 47 miles.”