Reflections

From the Life and Times of Dec. 3, 2002

Humboldt County’s new top law enforcement officer Sheriff Gary Philp told Garberville Rotarians that the sheriff’s office needed to do a better job of providing 24-hour coverage to outlying areas.

"Increasing our presence in Garberville and vicinity is one of the things we’re working on," Philp said, and pointed out that when he first came to Garberville in l974 there were seven or eight deputies on duty and it wasn’t possible to cover the area full time.

"We still don’t provide 24-hour service," he said.

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Despite an all-clear signal to the public that blue-green algae conditions that caused precautions to be recommended against going into the South Fork Eel River that summer had been eliminated, the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services said it would continue to monitor the situation.

The precautions were directed to recreational users and those with dogs to avoid potential exposure to toxins that were present with some blue-green algae species in stagnant sections of the river.

The precautions advised against swimming in the river while the algae was present and recommended that animals not be allowed to drink the water. They were issued after three dogs - two near Leggett and one near Tooby Park off Sprowel Creek Road in Garberville - died after going into the water near the beds of algae.

It was still early in the rainy season, no rain was predicted and warmer than usual temperatures were being enjoyed around the North Coast. Normal rainfall was about 8.5 inches and the previous year the rain gauge showed more than 7.5 inches at the end of November.

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Attributable at least in part to an aggressive marketing campaign by the Garberville/Redway Area Chamber of Commerce, the number of visitors flocking to Humboldt County during the summer season that year showed significant gains over the same period in 2001.

The increase was measured largely by the amount of transient occupancy tax revenue that flowed into the county’s coffers during the months of July, August and September - the tax paid by visitors who patronized motels and hotels in the county.

Tourism had been on a steady rise for the previous 10 years and continued to grow despite the events of September 11, 2001 which had put a damper on travel plans in a number of states. The state of California had initiated a rediscover California campaign to encourage Californians after the 9-11 terrorist attacks and this activity was credited with some of the increase in Humboldt County tourism.

Humboldt County’s major attractions were its parks and beaches. Redwood National Park and Redwood State Park in Southern Humboldt had their facilities booked steadily through the summer.

The Humboldt County Convention and Visitors Bureau had aggressively marketed in the Sacramento and San Franciso Bay areas and had found from its own surveys that the majority of visitors in the county came from those areas.

The Garberville/Redway Area Chamber of Commerce had targeted the Highway 101 corridor between Marin County and the North Bay communities in the Santa Rosa area with a printed media campaign focusing on the economic advantages of short-term vacations to Southern Humboldt.

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