Ditch The Car For Your Feet Or Wheels


By Maureen Gaffney


Invest in Our Planet” is the theme for Earth Day 2022. While this may be the perfect for a donation pitch, you’ve been harangued, cajoled, and squeezed in myriad ways by us and others since the dawn of time. So we will resist. Besides, you know there are many more ways to invest in our one shared home, this beautiful blue-green planet, than with dollars alone. While it can be daunting (and sometimes downright depressing) to think about climate change and all of the small and large ways we humans are contributing to it, there are things you and yours can do that will, in fact, make a difference.

Here are the simple things like bringing your own bag to the store, riding your bike or walking to that store—on the VINE TRAIL if you are lucky—re-using items like jars, plastic bags, and while it’s no panacea, recycling. Harder for some but providing a multi-pronged benefit, reducing meat consumption—eating lower on the food chain—is a major win for the planet, and happens to be better for your health and pocket book all at the same time!

A great way to learn about how to invest in our planet and to discover new and interesting approaches to reducing our carbon footprint is to attend the Earth Day Festival at the Oxbow Commons in Napa on Sunday, April 24th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is free, as is the secure valet bicycle parking provided by the Napa County Bicycle Coalition. Have you ever ridden to an event and had your trusty mount whisked away by a smiling volunteer? You feel like royalty. No traffic put you in a crabby mood on the way. No parking hassle. No parking ticket. You just glide right in like the rock star that you are.

Luckily, the Oxbow Commons are just a hot second off of the VINE TRAIL, and with the newly completed Soscol Gap segment from Vallejo to Third Street, you can ride or walk there on uninterrupted trail from as far away as Yountville to the north or from Kennedy Park to the south. So why not make a day of it? If you’ve got kids young enough to still like you, get everyone on a bike and pedal alongside the Napa River, maybe spy a river otter or a heron on the way. Check out the fun, uplifting murals gracing the sides of buildings on the RAD—Rail Arts District, be elementally inspired by the yellowest yellow of the mustard grass bursting from amongst the vineyard vines alongside Highway 29.

If there’s one investment that you make this Earth Day, try ditching the car for your feet or your wheels just once and see if the fresh air, rock-star parking and smug satisfaction of being part of the climate solution don’t charm you into ever more car-free VINE TRAIL days. But if you really want to you can also make a donation to the Napa Valley VINE TRAIL 😉.