Orleans Clean California Project to Celebrate Tribal Heritage and Improve Safety for Pedestrians and Bicyclists along Route 96 in Humboldt County


Clean California round logo. A blue sky above white clouds over green hills. Clean California.

ORLEANS — The historic town of Orleans will benefit from a nearly $500,000 project to highlight the area’s heritage and enhance safety along Route 96 thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California Initiative – a sweeping, $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces.

Caltrans, the Karuk Tribe, and Humboldt County officials broke ground recently on the Orleans Community Enhancement Project in the heart of Six Rivers National Forest. 

Nestled on the Bigfoot Scenic Byway, the $495,000 effort will include the installation of two custom gateway monuments, new crosswalk markings, and solar lighting. These project features will strengthen community pride and improve safety for people who walk and bike by making it easier for motorists to see bicyclists and pedestrians. 

The gateway monuments will be sited at the north and south ends of town and will feature the town’s name in both English (Orleans) and Karuk (Panamnik). New markings at Orleans/Panamnik’s lone crosswalk and changeable banners throughout town will feature tribal designs. Ten decorative solar light posts will illuminate previously dim areas and pathways.

These enhancements along Route 96 not only serve as a nod to Orleans/Panamnik’s rich history, but they also will contribute to a safer and more aesthetically pleasing environment for residents and visitors alike. The project is expected to be completed by early summer. 

“I’m very excited to see this beautification project happening in Panamnik-Orleans, and I look forward to continuing to partner with Caltrans District 1 on future projects to enhance our beautiful, rural community,” Karuk Tribe Transportation Director Misty Rickwalt said.

"Through collaborative efforts with local partners and the support of Clean California, this project represents not just a beautification effort, but a commitment to honoring local culture while ensuring a safer and more welcoming environment," Caltrans District 1 Director Matt Brady said.

“The Clean California improvements in the Orleans area will enhance safety and sense of community in this remote corner of Humboldt County,” said Steve Madrone, Humboldt County Supervisor. “Caltrans has done a commendable job of outreach and inclusion to make a valuable project come to fruition.”

Clean California has funded 319 projects throughout the state to revitalize and beautify underserved communities, some of which are already complete and now sources of pride. Projects are improving public spaces, tribal lands, parks, neighborhoods, transit centers, walking paths, streets, roadsides, recreation fields, community gathering spots, and places of cultural importance or historical interest in communities where previous transportation projects often created community or cultural division.

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans has removed nearly 2.3 million cubic yards of litter from state highways – or enough to fill about 700 Olympic-size swimming pools. 

The program has also created more than 15,000 jobs that have helped Californians overcome barriers to employment and drawn more than 10,000 volunteers to events ranging from community cleanups to large debris collections for appliances, tires, and mattresses.

For further information, visit CleanCA.com.

For local footage of Clean CA beautification projects in action click here, and for local footage of Clean CA Dump Day events click here.

Contact: myles.cochrane@dot.ca.gov