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?



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