Founder of Wildtrail Tours
Before my partner and I decided to settle down in Humboldt, we were travelers. We volunteered on small farms, snowboarded, and hiked all over the country before finding ourselves in complete awe of the nature Humboldt had to offer. We started out working within the Redwood National & State Parks, and soon learned that we wanted to share the quintessential Humboldt experience with travelers just like us. It took another 5 years before I started Wildtrail Tours in 2020 and invested my efforts and passion into local biking tours and rentals.
I see the expansion of tourism as a powerful industry we lucky few who live in the redwoods area have at our fingertips. This sustainable tourism opportunity has the ability to benefit everyone (directly and indirectly) and provide economic stability in our community.
Historically, Humboldt has seen a lot of ups and downs in various industries, from gold mining to logging. These extraction-based industries can, and often have, led to major economic busts - which still affects the health of the entire community today—not to mention the negative ecological effects. These ups and downs also create a completely rational amount of hesitation when it comes to choosing how to invest in our community, but by placing our energy and time into protecting and implementing smart tourism initiatives, I feel the industry will provide long term economic benefits for us all.
It can be hard to trust that it will work, but my hope is that the local trepidation around building and investing in Humboldt’s tourism will manifest into a well thought out community plan that captures the tourism market for all of us who call Humboldt home.
I love my job. Every day I get to witness the excitement of a visitor's first time at the foot of an old growth redwood tree, and see the wonder on their face as they learn that flying squirrels live here, that trees require fungi to survive, or that redwoods more often clone themselves than grow from seed. This experience is like seeing the trees anew all over again for me, even though I live in the backyard of the redwoods.
It reminds me that Humboldt has so much to offer, and I think if we work together, we can really cultivate a cohesive, authentic experience for newcomers, tourists and travelers. We don't want to see visitors stop at only one park and then keep driving, but to get a real sense of what our community has to offer, and that puts money in all our pockets.
Founder of Wildtrail Tours
This story is a part of the Humboldt Rising storytelling series, short stories highlighting the human impacts of economic development in Humboldt County, as part of the 2023-2027 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy or CEDS. This story was adapted from an interview with Dalton in June, 2022. To read more stories and share your own, visit HumboldtRising.com