The bums aren’t the only problem with Bidwell Park

6 Feb

I haven’t given up on Bidwell Park yet. I had to respond to a letter writer who complained to the Enterprise Record that the city was removing too much plant material from the park. David Little complains that he’s getting so many letters about Donald Trump, its taking him a week to post the average letter to the editor, so I’ll post it here:

On December 27 I contacted the city of Chico to report an extensive transient camp in lower Bidwell Park. City manager Mark Orme thanked me and assured me that the city would follow up “at this specific site”.  

Over the next month I continued to find and report illegal campers in the same area, watching city staff chase them from one spot another, piles of trash left behind that included bike parts. Some sites were scattered with city-provided plastic bags full  of fecal  matter, whether from dogs or humans I wouldn’t know.  

Massive stands of non-native berry vines are tunneled into, dead limbs are arranged to conceal the campsites. Some of them appear to have been used for years. They are kept just out of sight of main trails and the road by the intense tangle of non-native and  dead vegetation. 

After a frustrating month of reporting these sites,   I was relieved  to see city crews have removed enough vegetation so that  campsites will be visible from the road for Chico PD. 

The city must continue to remove non-native, overgrown and dead vegetation from Bidwell Park. It’s not just about the bums – our big oak trees are in trouble, being smothered out by invaders like Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, privet, and vinca.

Unfortunately the park is in serious trouble after these storms. On a bike ride yesterday I saw sections of the south road that are falling into the creek. Dead trees laying across the creek cause the water to spread out toward the road, undermining the pavement. 

The north park road is a big mess from not just car traffic  but the garbage trucks the city sends in once a week to empty the trash cans. The city crews used to go in with a pick-up truck, but the city says they save money by using Waste Management. Really? 

This is gross mismanagement. It started years ago  under a “liberal” majority, but continues full speed ahead with a “conservative” majority that spends all our budget on salaries and benefits, and tells us we must pay more if we want the type of services generally expected out of a city with a $100 million budget and management paid upwards of $200,000 a year with 88 – 91 percent of their benefits paid by the taxpayers. 

Silly us! We, ourselves, are to blame, we let this happen.  The longer we let it go on, the more we are to blame.

I’ll continue to take pictures and post them here, send them to ER Hot Shots, and maybe even to the city council. You do same.


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