Longtime friends Monica Genetti and Emily Harrington sat on the sun deck of Gourmet Au Bay wine bar Wednesday afternoon, sipping white wine and catching up on old times while the occasional fishing boat lazily cut through the waters of Bodega harbor.
Just below where the two Sebastopol-bred friends were chatting is a shoreline that is expected to become the route of a 1,500-foot-long boardwalk, the centerpiece of an ambitious 3.4 mile trail from Salmon Creek to Doran Beach.
The $6.2 million project would make tiny Bodega Bay a safer place to walk and potentially be a boon to tourists and merchants.
"Right now, there's no way you can walk around Bodega Bay," said Genetti, 33, noting that people must drive to each location in town and most visitors usually settle on just one.
The trail, some of which has been completed, would provide a safer north-south alternative for pedestrians and cyclists who otherwise must use a dangerous section of Highway 1.
But the most noticeable part of the long-planned trail project would be the boardwalk along the waterfront, a passage that will provide access to retail shops, restaurants and scenic overlooks.
"It would showcase Bodega Bay as one of the gems of Sonoma County," said Harrington, 33, who was engaged and married in Bodega Bay. "And it would probably generate more business."
Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo and county regional parks officials are holding a public meeting this evening to provide an update on the trail system, and specifically on the northern section, which is to be built this summer.
The meeting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bodega Bay Fire Department. When completed, the Bodega Bay Trail will be a link in the California Coastal Trail.
The northern section is a 1.1-mile paved path west of Highway 1 from Salmon Creek to the Bodega Bay Community Center. It will include at least one boardwalk section and two parking lots, one a trailhead lot for seven cars along the shoulder of Keefe Avenue near Salmon Creek and another for 20 vehicles along Highway 1.