By Emily Turner

CALISTOGA (CBS SF) — A battle is brewing in wine country over a bike and foot path that would create a 47 mile link between Vallejo and Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena.

It’s not the Vine Trail some locals don’t take a liking to, it’s having it so close to agriculture, and so far from a major thoroughfare.

“How will it be secure? How will it be policed?” Jim Panek, who opposes the trail said.

75 percent of the trail is set to be built on public right of way along Highway 29. There is a portion of it that’s unpassable as it stands.

“The hurdle is that 29 is narrow, way too narrow for a highway and bike path right next to it,” Vine Trail President Chuck McMinn said.

So, the Vine Trail is looking to navigate through a portion of public and private lands that would take the trail along narrow backroads and along vineyards. It sounds scenic, but opponent of the deviation, Jim Panek, says it’s dangerous.

“It invites the public right along working farms into an ag-preserve area, where there is dust, dirt, heavy equipment and spraying. It’s not equipped to handle bike traffic and farm equipment” Panek said.

But, McMinn says the 3 million visitors the trail will see every year won’t be a nuisance, and the intrusion, once finished will be worthwhile.

“We need to help the residents get over the idea that the world is going to end. It’s going to be a great amenity when it’s built,“ McMinn said.

 

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