News

VINE TRAIL Progress 2020: The Year in Review by the Numbers.

12/30/2020

Despite this roller coaster of a year, with both COVID and wildfires, we have been able to make substantial progress with the help of you, our supporters.

Although, it may have been more fitting to set the following to the seasonal song the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, here are some of the highlights with some numbers.

Sixteen Rights of Way Secured.

In December 2020, the VINE TRAIL successfully negotiated with sixteen property owners to secure the easements necessary to construct the VINE TRAIL between St Helena and Calistoga.

Of the sixteen easements, twelve property owners donated easements. Since acquiring easements through eminent domain is contrary to a core value of the Vine Trail Coalition, some landowners were compensated. Our continuing fundraising efforts will pay for these easements.

We would like to thank all the private property owners and especially those who donated easements necessary for this phase of the project.

Ten And A Half Million Dollars in Grants Applied For.

In 2020, despite COVID, we applied for two major grants totaling $10.5 million along with our public agency partners. Although we will not be the direct recipient of the funds, the Vine Trail Coalition invested almost $100,000 on surveys and planning work to make the grant applications competitive. If successful, the Vine Trail Coalition will take the lead again in securing the necessary easements from private property owners.

Existing VINE TRAIL Grew to Twenty Miles in 2020.

Two new, short sections of the VINE TRAIL were completed by our public agency partners in 2020. Of the planned 47 miles, 20.16 are now complete. Thank you Napa County, the City of Calistoga and the Calistoga Motor Lodge.

Ten Wineries - Vintners Step Up to Support the Vintner Collection.

The VINE TRAIL Vintner Collection is a five-year fundraising program partnering with ten premier wineries in Napa Valley.  Apart from the generous donations of three barrels of fantastic wine per winery, donated products and services included bottles, corks, glass etching, b-caps, graphic design, videography, copy writing, PR, shipping and warehousing. All of this is a testament to the support from this amazing valley. The program got off to a great start garnering more than a net of $250k in November. There are many individuals and companies that we want to thank for their support of the Vintner Collection. For more information on the wineries and donors, click here.

Two-Mile Gap Progress - Connecting the VINE TRAIL Through St Helena.

The Vine Trail Coalition held the first virtual public meeting on the VINE TRAIL’s downtown St Helena connector. The VINE TRAIL is splitting the cost with the City of St Helena. The Draft Study, prepared by BKF Engineering, was completed in October 2020 and presented to the VINE TRAIL Engineering Committee and to the St Helena Active Transportation and Sustainability Committee. The project will next be submitted to the St Helena Planning Commission for comments before a final draft is submitted to the City Council.

Half a Million Uses - VINE TRAIL Use Surges.

If there was any silver lining in this year, it was the surge in VINE TRAIL use. With gyms closed and even playgrounds off limits for much of the year, many families discovered the VINE TRAIL and turned to it for exercise. As of November 30, there had been 483,184 uses of the VINE TRAIL--a 46% overall increase over the average of the previous three years. It is projected that we will see over 500,000 users before the end of December 2020.

Three Party Maintenance Agreement.

In 2021, you will notice that City of Napa maintenance staff will begin maintaining the entire VINE TRAIL route from Kennedy Park to Yountville. As a result of a new three-way agreement between the County, the Vine Trail Coalition and the City of Napa, City maintenance staff will be taking over the mowing, cleaning and tree trimming on the VINE TRAIL from south Napa to the Town of Yountville. The City has agreed to dedicate staff and use their expertise to maintain the project. The Vine Trail Coalition will pay half of the annual maintenance costs.

March Twenty-First – A Phoenix Rises from the Ashes.

When the State of Emergency was announced on March 4 due to the COVID pandemic, the Vine Trail Coalition had to abruptly cancel our live fundraiser, LOCO-MOTION 2020, scheduled for March 21st. This could have been a financial disaster but the NVVTC Board, our contractors, suppliers, and our staff rallied and were able to quickly pivot to set up an “online” event, which ended up in the black. Thanks to the lessons we learned, LOCO-MOTION 2021 will be a virtual event which will run for six weeks with a goal of raising $236,000. There will be lots of “hands on” and fun activities that you will be able to participate in. Stay tuned for further information.

One Hundred and Seventy Plants Planted.

On January 21, 2020, the Napa Kiwanis Club, many NVVTC Board members and other volunteers, participated in the replanting of 170 shrubs along the VINE TRAIL. The one-day project required prior site staging, soil preparation, transportation of materials, installation of safety signage and testing of irrigation systems. Thank you to all our volunteers.

Eight Committees Working.

The Vine Trail Coalition has eight standing Committees. I want to acknowledge and thank the Committee Chairs and Committee members for their work in 2020. We have all learned to “Zoom” and “Go2Meeting” to get the essential work of the organization done.

Twenty-Seven Board Members.

Thank you also to our Board who have provided guidance and advice throughout 2020.

Over Thirteen Thousand Facebook Fans. 

Our Facebook fan base grew from 10,895 in January 2020 to 13,084 in November. This was a 20% increase. 

Four thousand Six Hundred and Sixty-Three Instagram Followers. 

Parallel to our Facebook fanbase growth, we also saw a surge in our Instagram followers from 4,043 in January to 4,663 in October. This was a 15% increase. 

Three thousand Eight Hundred Newsletter Readers. 

If you are reading this, you are likely one of our loyal readers. Thank you. 

As a non-profit, your donations have and continue to help leverage the federal and state grants and the contributions by many others. For every dollar donated, our goal is to raise three to four dollars in federal state and local grant funding. We hope that you will consider supporting us in the New Year as we look forward to beginning construction of the VINE TRAIL between St Helena and Calistoga. 

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to thank my staff, Nancy Tennyson and Marion Johnson. To make it through the year and to keep the project moving forward, staff took salary cuts and reductions in hours. We have worked virtually and learned new skills. Nancy and Marion have demonstrated grace, flexibility, good humor and above all patience.

We hope that 2021 is a brighter year for everyone. 

Philip Sales
Executive Director