Living in Fortuna and the Eel River Valley



Living in Fortuna

Fortuna today recalls the best of North Coast Yesterdays

An editorial in the Eureka Times-Standard of December 10, 1997

North Coast residents who don't fully appreciate the beauty and serenity of the area need to take a little walk through Fortuna on a Saturday morning.

If one can ignore the years and makes of the automobiles driving around or parked on quiet streets, a walk through Fortuna could easily be a walk back to a simpler time when the pace of life was slower and more pleasant, and growth for the sake of growth wasn't as important to gauging the quality of a city as the friendliness of the folks who live there.

Start with a long walk up the trail and into the forest behind Rohner Park. After about three minutes, one is in complete solitude. The quiet is awe-inspiring. Not a car to be heard. Not a person to be seen.

At the top of the hill, above the city, one finds a picnic ground that was probably a community gathering spot decades ago. The once-traveled road is now covered with leaves and branches. But the memories of the place where Fortunans gathered to enjoy each other fill the area.

Follow the scenic trail a bit farther and one is minutes from Main Street, and still miles from the rest of the world. A stream. Beautiful ferns. The sounds of birds chirping. It's a place that metropolitan-area residents would dream of visiting once a year, yet it is there every day for Fortuna folks.

 

Walk down the hill to the Rohner Park rodeo grounds and one gets a peek back at what Humboldt County used to be. Fortuna has managed to save the great redwood bleachers. One is reminded that Eureka, Arcata and other towns long ago tore down their redwood stadium structures, replacing them with modern, unsightly metal seats.

Curling back behind the Rohner Park baseball fields, one walks peacefully alongside Rohner Creek. A foot bridge connects the quiet city street to the park.

Fortuna's residential district is straight out of the 1950's. The ultra-modern subdivisions are on the outskirts of the city. Downtown, one who visits today will pass homes decorated for Christmas. On every other corner is a beautiful church, reminding us of our roots as Americans when faith was what held us together instead of what drove us apart.

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