A tunnel collapse on Mendocino County’s dog-friendly Skunk Train
line has inspired a new campaign titled Save Our Skunk to raise more than $300,000 needed to resume full train routes. The Skunk Train is one of Northern California’s most popular activities, and draws riders from around the world. The Train is privately owned and managed, and has key historical significance. When San Francisco had to be rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake, the Skunk Train became the vital link to haul the lumber, people and supplies. Hundreds of thousands of travelers have enjoyed Skunk Train rides through towering redwoods.
“The Tunnel Number 1 collapse happened during a time when the train was not running, so there were no injuries,” said Robert Jason Pinoli, Chief Skunk and CEO of the Skunk Train. “We are simply unable to continue operations and full routes. This is disappointing fans, and is a tremendous blow to loyal passengers and the communities of Fort Bragg and Willits, which depend on revenue generated by the Skunk Train.” Pinoli added that unless they are able to secure funding, the Skunk may cease operations completely.
The entire Mendocino County community is rallying friends, neighbors, business and more to contribute to the Save Our Skunk Campaign, and ensure travelers return to area. “From the travel and tourism offices, we are working hard to support the campaign to raise more than $300,000 to rebuild the tunnel,” said Scott Schneider, President and CEO of Visit Mendocino County. “All our data shows that the Skunk is the top attraction for the County and ranks at the top for Northern California. Robert and his small team have given so much to the County, we would be devastated if the Skunk was closed. We hope that fans of history, nature, art and Northern California come together to support the rebuild.”
According to Pinoli, the timing is urgent as the beginning of travel season is now, and the timeframe for construction is short. “Generations of travelers have enjoyed the Skunk Train” said Schneider. “The train is vital to the entire County. We are confident that individuals, businesses and organizations will quickly support this campaign.”
The Skunk Train is in talks with several private organizations to fund the tunnel rebuild. Some levels of funding offer naming rights for the tunnels. The Save Our Skunk program at www.skunktrain.com
offers many contribution levels where everyone can play a part in the preservation of the Skunk Train.