28 Valley oaks removed from Bidwell Park Fire suppression may have gone awry

photo by Karen Laslo
Tree removal created a muddy mess last week.

photo story by Karen Laslo

Last week, if you were anywhere near the Chico Creek Nature Center in Bidwell Park, you probably heard the whine and scream of chainsaws and the roar of a big backhoe.

A CDF prison crew was hard at work cutting down several non-native and invasive Catalpa trees to reduce the risk of fire in the coming months.

But, unfortunately, it appears that 28 healthy, native, valley oak trees were also mistakenly cut down, according to local tree advocates. And because the ground was sopping wet from several recent storms, the heavy equipment made deep ruts in the soil. It’s still not clear who authorized the project and who was in charge of overseeing it. read more

Sycamore Pool finally ready and waiting 57 truckloads of sediment removed

photo by Karen Laslo

photo by Karen Laslo

by Karen Laslo

Usually, the park maintenance crew has Sycamore Pool cleaned and ready for use by Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer swimming season — but not this year.

Heavy winter storms and a swift spring snow melt brought a greatly increased flow of water down Big Chico Creek, resulting in a pressure and volume of water too great to be accommodated by the underground tunnel the park maintenance crew relies on to divert the creek while it cleans the pool.  Finally, last week when the water flow had calmed, the crew began the yearly cleaning of the pool at the One-Mile Recreation Area. read more

Police-the-park plan is a “fork in the road” Public safety, park rangers and disposable people

by Steve Breedlove

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face forever” – George Orwell.

At this moment, Chico’s unelected city bureaucrats are in the process of moving Park Rangers into the Police Department, arming them and sidelining their function as naturalists and stewards of our recreational commons. Apparently, “broken windows” enforcement of minor infractions is the preferred method of addressing very real and material social problems. read more