Plaque unveiled for Dennis Wendt Memorial Trail in Fortuna

Wendt remembered for working with youth sports teams

Sean Swanson, left, of River Life Foundation unveiled a plaque that has been placed at the trailhead of the Dennis Wendt Memorial Trail, while three members of Fortuna Leadership 8 group look on. (Mary Bullwinkel — For the Times-Standard)
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A combination celebration was last week at the Fortuna trailhead of the Dennis Wendt Memorial Trail. A plaque honoring Wendt was dedicated and a ribbon-cutting took place to celebrate the plaque unveiling and declaring the trail “officially” open.

The plaque was the idea of Fortuna Leadership 8, the eighth group of local business and community representatives to go through the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce Leadership program.

The bronze plaque includes a facial likeness of Wendt and says: “In memory of Dennis Wendt, River Life Foundation dedicates this trail. Dennis was a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer and always continued to strive to make the Eel River Valley a great place to live. He was generous with his time and money, especially with local youth. He never missed a fundraiser or local sporting event and always continued to give generously to our community. This plaque was made possible through the support of Allan M Baird, 2019. Baird is a Fortuna engineer and his business is A.M. Baird Engineering.”

The plaque includes the dates May 11, 1948, to July 21, 2017. Wendt died following a car crash in July 2017.

The memorial plaque was designed by Lotus Mountain and produced by Eagle Foundry in Eagle Creek, Oregon. Other sponsors include Whitchurch Engineering, Redwood Capital Bank, and Landmark Real Estate, with funding to be used for ongoing maintenance and future improvements to the trail.

Members on the Fortuna Leadership 8 group and River Life Foundation’s Sean Swanson unveiled the plaque and then along with community members and Chamber of Commerce representatives cut a ribbon to welcome the opening of the tail. Swanson, who was instrumental in getting the trail built, along with many generous donations from local businesses, called the unveiling and ribbon cutting “very exciting.”

The trailhead is located across the street from Humboldt Auction Yard and follows the old Northwestern Pacific railroad tracks to Palmer Boulevard. Swanson said he and others are in the process of taking the necessary steps to extend the trail to Fernbridge at some point in the future.

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