Wednesday, March 16, 2016

16 March 2016

Been awhile so here’s a brief update.  Albeit slowly things are just beginning to move forward again, just as spring buds emerge from our wonderfully wet winter!

At the invitation of Keith Davies of the Greater GV Chamber of Commerce, I spoke for five minutes at their most recent board meeting to let them know about the involvement of the BYLT.  Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt continues to build key relationships with city personnel.  She and her staff are preparing for a presentation to the City Council about the Parkway in June.  Hopefully I can leverage my meeting with the Chamber into public awareness contacts with other civic groups in the coming months.  I was well received and Howard Levine added a few encouraging words to my remarks.  Thanks Keith.

Speaking of public awareness, on April 21 and 22 (Earth Day) once again the lower parking lot at the Holiday Inn Express will witness the creek coming into the light of day via the 3rd Annual Wolf Creek Chalk Art Project.  As in prior years I am helping to coordinate this project with Jennifer Scott and Alex Ezzell.  Participating artists are two fourth grade classes from the Grass Valley Charter School and art students from Bitney College Prep High School.  Thanks as always to General Manager Sean Gilleran.  Come by and check it out!

Don Pelton is in communication with NCTV about having the 2014 film “A Creek Runs Through It,” available for viewing via their website.  And of course it remains available on You Tube.

Key components remain the potential acquisition of the corner lot at Idaho-Maryland and Sutton, and the commencement of the new wastewater treatment plant and connecting trail downstream of Glen Jones Park by Newmont Mine.  And of course the BYLT presentation to the Council prepares the way for the first potential action by the City Council since adoption of the Conceptual Plan in 2006.  STAY TUNED!

I’ll keep plugging away and will attend the next meeting of the Bear River Watershed Group on the sixth of April.  At that meeting stakeholders will create collaborative goals and objectives for the Restoration Plan, based on issues identified in the Disturbance Inventory put together at the last meeting.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stewards Log 9 July 2015

Happy July!  And happy developments, incremental as they are.  (Who said this was going to happen overnight anyway!)  For nearly two years I have been sharing information and updates about the Parkway with Marty Coleman-Hunt, Executive Director of the Bear Yuba Land Trust.  As you might expect she is very busy with all the pots she stirs already.  Nevertheless, as she learned more about the potential for a trail and pocket parks along Wolf Creek, she took it upon herself to bring some of her board and staff on board, and meet with GV City Councilman Howard Levine and City Manager Bob Richardson.

The city folks have responded in a positive manner and now seem poised to move forward - albeit in slow and deliberate baby steps.  Jane, Jonathan, and I met with Marty, Bill Haire, and two board members in May.  In June I led Marty, staffer Laura Peterson, and board member Michael Smiley on a walking and driving tour of several key sections of the Conceptual Plan, and possible alternate routes.  They in turn showed me the area thru which portions of the Larimer Trail (downstream of the Mining Museum) is poised to be built by Newmont.

The Land Trust people are enthusiastic to help move this project forward - touting it to the city as the beginning stages of a comprehensive trail system with links key areas of town, and additional trails and/or links upstream, down, and in-between.  Going forward Marty will be the point person in this effort.  At present she is working to get Howard and Bob out on a similar tour of the potential trails.  I will continue to work with Marty and her people in whatever capacity I can, as well as continue my efforts to show the film to groups around town.  I have a couple of feelers out in that regard.

It is also my pleasure to represent WCCA (and advocate for Wolf Creek) as one of many stakeholders in the Bear Watershed Group.  The BWG is charged with coming up with a Restoration Plan for the entirety of the Bear River Watershed. There have been two meetings thus far, with funding funneled through SSI for four more bimonthly gatherings.  To date the group has identified key components to a comprehensive disturbance inventory.  These will be prioritized at the September meeting, which will result in a monitoring and data collection program, that would in turn drive and provide additional data to help form the restoration plan itself.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

I close with a notion recently put forward by Benjamin Hale, Associate Professor of Environmental Philosophy at the University of Colorado.  We all understand what trespassing is.  As the Parkway comes to light the Land Trust, the WCCA, and the City of Grass Valley agree that no trespass, taking, or disturbance of any parcels of private property will take place without legal agreement from the owners in the form of a trail or conservation easement.  That’s a given.

But can it also be construed that roads, fences, parking lots, homes, and businesses that are allowed to exist along the creek without proper setback and bank protection; along with any toxic or illegal discharge or pumping is in effect “trespassing?”  Trespassing against all of us and the integrity and possibly legal standing of the creek that is as yet unrecognized as such but is in essence part of the Grass Valley Commons?



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Second Annual Chalk Art Mural Project

Please join us on Earth Day, Wednesday April 22 from 9-2, at the Holiday Inn Express, for the second annual chalk art mural.  With the blessings of Gold Miner's Inn General Manager Sean Gilleran, Wolf Creek will once again come into the light of day!  Unfortunately, the downtown stretch of the creek runs underground for over a quarter mile.  The mural is intended to spread awareness of that fact and help build public support for the Wolf Creek Parkway.

Fourth grade students from Grass Valley Charter School, and high school students from Bitney College Prep High School will be rolling up their sleeves to "paint" the asphalt canvas.  Many of you will remember the first installment of this mural, last year on May 1, the very day the Wolf Creek Community Alliance officially had our ribbon cutting to join the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Following suit with last year,  the mural is based on an original design by artist and GV Charter parent Tatiana Makovkin.  This year the grid and outline for the mural will be overseen by Bitney Art Teacher Chad Wood.  Besides running the Art and Social Science Programs at Bitney, Chad is a working artist.  His original paintings have been shown and sold locally for several years, as well as   in Sacramento, San Francisco, and Southern California.

Two fourth grade classes taught by Merry Biles-Daly and Lori Anderson will be participating in this highly energetic, creative, and meaningful project.  Some of last year's student "artists," now in the fifth grade, may also stop by.  The 2014 mural, and interviews with participants, was featured in our documentary film, "A Creek Runs Through It."

Spread the Word.  Invite people.  Again - this is a drop-by installation art project on Wednesday, April 22 from 9 am to 2 pm at the Holiday Inn Express (lower parking lot)!

see you there, bruce

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stewards Log

8 March 2015

In preparation for putting "A Creek Runs Through It" on the WCCA web site, it has magically been seen lately on YouTube.  The direct link is

Other Parkway news:  Our friend and ally Marty Coleman-Hunt has engaged in discussion about it with key city officials and City Council Members.  We will be following up with that soon.

Also - On Wednesday, April 22, EARTH DAY, look for the second annual Chalk Art Mural Project taking shape once again in the lower lot at the Holiday Inn Express in Downtown GV.  Students, teachers, and parents from Grass Valley Charter School and Bitney College Prep High School will be creating a representation of the creek of all places....above ground!

Friday, December 12, 2014

We are In!

12 December 2014

The twelve minute documentary I co-produced with Terra Nyssa has been accepted into the 2015 SYRCL Wild and Scenic Film Festival.  The World Premier will be Saturday afternoon, January 17, in the OddFellows Hall in downtown Nevada City.

"A Creek Runs Through It" tells the story of the Wolf Creek Parkway.  Come check it out if you get the chance.

After the film festival it will be "Forward Paddle" for the 2015 public awareness campaign. 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Stewards Log 12 July 2014

A fine time it is for a summer update.  Here’s the unfolding story of the Parkway campaign so far.

Public Awareness:  The WCCA was the featured non-profit of the month at the Center for the Arts.  Our table featured a wonderful short video by Don and Jane Pelton.  We have also produced a new 4”x9” rack card for distribution at other upcoming events going forward.

If you’ve seen that piece you might recognize Tatiana Makovkin’s beautiful creek rendering as the same template used for the Chalk Art Project at the Holiday Inn Express in May.  That event was wildly successful and the good folks at Grass Valley Charter School hope to make it an annual event.

The Chalk Art was done in conjunction with the WCCA ribbon cutting as we joined the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.  A key aspect of that move is that Co-CEO Keith Davies spoke in favor of the Parkway while being interviewed for our film, “A Creek Runs Through It.”

In cooperation with Terra Nyssa Films, I am helping to produce a short (8 to 10 min) documentary.  The film will “tell the story” of the Parkway, provide a tour of the creek and proposed routes, hear directly from several key players in a series of interviews, and include information on successful urban creek restoration projects.  We have a good working draft of a script and hope to finish in August.

The finished product will be used in a broad public awareness campaign as I take it on the road to various groups around town over the next year or so.  These groups will hopefully include the Chamber of Commerce, the ERC, the Downtown Business Association, schools, service groups, the County Board of Supervisors, and of course the Grass Valley City Council.  We also hope to enter it into the 2015 Wild and Scenic Film Festival.

Short Term/Connect the Dots:  Recognizing the actual Parkway itself is still a few years away, the WCCA board envisions a practical short term “realistic” plan to get the ball rolling.  We call it the “Connect the Dots” project.  Essentially the idea is to paint a series of blue/green dots along city streets and sidewalks the length of the proposed Parkway, with a few signs here and there to let people know they are walking on the Wolf Creek Parkway.

I pitched the idea to City Manager Bob Richardson, Community Development Director Tom Last, and Public Works Director Tim Kiser.  This by the way is the third meeting with Tom and Tim, and the first with Bob Richardson.

Even though the idea sounds simple enough, nothing ever is.  They liked the idea and are willing to pitch it to the City Council once we all agree on the parameters.  Here’s the catch.  Legally this will be considered a trail and require adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Thus we will need sidewalks wide enough for wheelchairs (not all are), slopes no higher than the maximum allowed (some are) along with ramps and truncated domes at intersections.  Bob Richardson, being new to the city, is unfamiliar with the whole concept and proposed routes.  I of course volunteered to be his guide.  So one day soon Bob and I, and others who wish, will take a hike.

Long Term:  In previous meetings with Tom Last and Tim Kiser, a basic outline of our way forward is becoming clear.

Formal production of a Preliminary Design by a bonafide planning or architectural entity.
Preliminary Engineering Study.
Public Meetings and Necessary Permits.
Any subsequent revision to the Design or Engineering requirements
NEPA and CEQA reports and acceptance.
Implementation (meaning the actual work!), most likely in phases.

Meantime:  In the meantime they urge us to do whatever is possible on privately held property when and if we get the chance.  Essentially this involves a door to door canvassing of all parcels in each Reach to find out which property owners are supportive, which might be interested in an easement, and which are just plain opposed.  We have only just barely begun this endeavor.  I hope to entice a few high school students to help with this in the fall.

Key Property:  The corner lot at Idaho-Maryland and Sutton (proposed upstream trailhead) is privately held and for sale.  Mary Coleman-Hunt from the Bear Yuba Land Trust is actively negotiating with the owner and realtor to purchase this amazingly important piece.

The Old Warnke Mill site is also for sale, in conjunction with the former Idaho-Maryland Mine property behind it.  I am having ongoing discussions with the realtor concerning this property as well.

There are also several pieces of property along Mill Street that abut the creek that are for sale.  Anyone wanna buy one and make a creekside park out of it?

Our Current Needs or What You Can Help us With:

  • Historic pics of Wolf Creek prior to the freeway and/or the downtown Safeway
  • Acquisition of key lots 
  • Volunteer to work with staff at the Land Trust to create a professional multi-layered map of the Parkway
  • Volunteer to produce the Preliminary Design
  • Or do so at a discount
  • Or volunteer to find funding to do so
  • Volunteer(s) to do some of the door to door canvassing of private parcels

Let Us Know what you may know or want to do!

And coming in October, date and venue to be determined - our annual public meeting which will feature a showing of “A Creek Runs Through It”

Bruce Herring