Richard Nichols, Coastwalk

A 1,200-mile dream


SEBASTOPOL, CA. Richard Nichols is guardian of a grand vision. As executive director of Coastwalk, he's taking the California Coastal Trail (CCT) — nearly 1,200 miles along the California shore — from dream to reality.

Coastwalk grew out of a volunteer-guided walk along the coast of Sonoma County, California, in 1983. "I remember going along and just being so taken with the idea of a trail," Nichols says. He and wife Brenda helped organize the nonprofit group in 1986. Today, with more than 200 volunteers, Coastwalk sponsors coastal cleanup days, trail workdays, and 21 guided outings, all open to the public.

Currently, about 62 percent of the trail is open — mostly along already existing trails and beaches — in all 15 California coastal counties. Coastwalk is trying to fill in the gaps. As part of that effort, this summer the group is offering its grandest walk of all: Coastal Trail Expedition 2003, a trek along the trail's entire length.

Coastwalk, (800) 550-6854.Sustainable Obtainable Solutions , Box 1424, Helena, MT 59624; (406) 459-3486.