The Pepperbox

The Student News Site of Arcata High School

The Pepperbox

The Pepperbox

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Taylors Grandparents before a night of dancing.
Advance from Grandma: Loving Through Change
Taylor Sutherland, Business Manager • April 2, 2024

“It’s a day for sweethearts, and showing love to one another,” my Grandma said as we started talking about Valentine's Day. My grandma,...

Calling skaters!: New concrete park in Mack Town

“It’s a great addition to McKinleyville…”

A new skatepark was built next to Pierson Park in McKinleyville and had its official grand opening on October 7th. This may seem like a simple project because of the large skating scene in Humboldt County (and California in general), but this was actually over 20 years in the making. The idea for this project started in 2000, and it wasn’t until this year that it was finally unveiled. Pat Hassen, a McKinleyville local who inspired the project noticed skaters getting kicked out of places and skating in unsafe environments, so she helped start the McKinleyville Skatepark Committee in 2000 and began organizing and raising funds for the park. Hassen stepped down in 2009 and the park became a project of the Humboldt Skate Collective. But even after all this time,  the park is still lacking funds, and only 5,000 of the 20,000 square foot park is built and open. More fundraising is required to add a large bowl to the park that was in the blueprint and to expand the rest of it. 

The part of the park that is currently open is a mostly flat surface encouraged for skateboards, roller skates, and scooters with ramps on either side. One has a big top area, as well as a heightened area. These both offer skaters a way to drop in tricks. There are also many obstacles which include a pyramid, a rail complimented by a bank, and a rounded spine. There are also designated areas for more technical tricks. 

“Yeah, it took like, a really big community effort to even get this part built,” a local skater Kaelan Docherty said while at the park. “It’s a great addition to McKinleyville. There’s literally zero street spots here.” 

This skater is spot on when he says it was a community effort. Many warrants were written requesting finances: some successful, many not. In addition, there were many pushes for donations, as well as multiple bake sales, all in the efforts for a place of solace for the skating community. Mckinleyville is one of the towns in Humboldt less accepting of the skate community, with many skaters reporting that they are often disrupted.

“Yeah, we get kicked out of places a lot,” a local skater who requested to be unnamed said. “Once or twice it was because I tagged a dumpster in a parking lot, but most of the time I get told to leave from areas no one even cares about just because I’m skating.”

 This sentiment is often reflected by other skaters living in the downtown McKinleyville area, with skaters saying businesses don’t respond kindly to perceived property violations.

“Yeah man, like it’s just a parking lot and they’ll threaten to call the cops like what does your store even stand to gain from that?” skater Nathanial Watts said regarding the issue. 

For a long time, there was no solution to this problem, as any area to skate safely and legally was far away, requiring either a planned bus ride or a car drive. These options often proved difficult for youths looking to practice their tricks, making the opening of the Mckinleyville Skatepark all the more appreciated. It stands not only as a communal space for the ever-growing skate scene but also a testament to the combined dedication from community members that was required to bring it to where it is today.

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About the Contributor
Nola Bachemin
Nola Bachemin, Photo Editor
Nola Bachemin, environmentally curious direct information fact-based reporter. Nonfiction reporter of all things Humboldt as it pertains to the world of high school and the younger generation. She’s no-nonsense addressing current issues and all things political and environmental. Nola loves to write and create art and has been creative throughout her school journey. She finds herself a senior with a lot of life experience including living on the East Coast and now the West Coast, discovering many places, and remaining curious and adventurous. The ocean never ceases to amaze her and as it remains one of our last frontiers, Nola would like to combine her love of words and discovery and express our awe, love, and devotion to our amazing coast. Phone number: (707)-616-5926
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