Was the “oaks massacre” in Bidwell Park really a mistake?

16 Mar

The Nature Center used to be a special place,  run by a professional and caring staff,  and then the money grabbers from CARD took over. Now the programs for kids are expensive – CARD makes no bones about wanting more money.

Now they want the city to forgive a loan made to the previous management.

So excuse the mismanagement, CARD isn’t in this to serve anybody but themselves.

I assume you’ve heard the outrage over a stand of perfectly healthy valley oaks mowed down at the center recently. The city contracted Cal Fire, who brings in inmates from a low security jail called Salt Creek. These crews are trained to do fire safety clearance, and they’re great. But they’re not foresters and they need to be told exactly what to cut. According to an article in the News and Review, city public works director Eric Gustafson admits – they had no consistent symbols for marking the trees.

Oh give me a fucking break!

We have a city forester, hired a few years back, that’s supposed to be exactly what he was hired for. We have a “Parks and Resource Director” – Linda Herman. We have Gustafson. And the Center is supposed to be overseen by CARD. All this “management ” – Honey, I’m calling it MISMANAGEMENT.

I want to see dead brush, non-native species and sick trees removed from the park, this is work that needs to continue,  but I don’t want the whole park turned into parking lots and buildings.  I’m afraid this wasn’t really a mistake. The city has wanted to develop the area around the Nature Center for a long time, build more money makers like the center.

CARD, with the city’s blessing, has taken a facility that was a free resource for everybody and instituted an admission fee. Low cost Summer “nature camp” has turned into a daycare scheme that closes the center to the public for weeks at a time. The south side neighborhood has complained all the way back to Shakespeare in the Park about cars flooding their streets for these events, it’s no different with the daycare center.

Now the city is talking about a  Maidu Village -another attraction that will bring in cars and necessitate more parking.

A friend reminds me – if Gustafson asked the city for permission to remove the trees for a parking lot, the shit would hit the fan. But now he can blame it on Cal Fire and oh well it’s just too late to do anything about it.  He doesn’t even seem sorry about the incident.

This is how the city and CARD will continue to “manage” Bidwell Park unless we step up and say GUSTAFSON NEEDS TO GO. The park needs a true resource manager.

Write to the Park Commission and tell them you want your park back.


10 Responses to “Was the “oaks massacre” in Bidwell Park really a mistake?”

  1. Jim March 16, 2019 at 11:48 am #

    The mismanagement is Chico is staggering. It’s clear that no body in city management gives a shit about anything except their paycheck. I’ll bet if somebody accidentally cut their retirement they would notice. The management in charge of this project should be fired. Isn’t that what would happen in any functional organization?

    • Juanita Sumner March 16, 2019 at 7:24 pm #

      “I’ll bet if somebody accidentally cut their retirement they would notice.” – Hah! GOOD ONE! Thanks Jim!

    • Juanita Sumner March 17, 2019 at 6:28 am #

      Look at city salaries and benefits by department here:


      Parks/Recreation Facilities – 17 employees – $807,679 in salaries and $324,515 in health/retirement costs paid by the city.

      $96,167 salary and another $37,000 in benefits for a “resource manager” who I’m guessing doesn’t even own appropriate shoes. I asked her to take a walk in Upper Park with me to see illegal campers but she said she’d only meet me in Lower Park. Less than a week later the Stoney Fire erupted in the exact area where I’d reported campers and investigators told a neighbor it was started by campers.

      “Landscape Inspector”? – $74,806/$29,000

      “Administrative Analyst” – $71,904/$23,000

      The parks department is management top-heavy, with the real workers paid $50,000 or less, with much smaller benefit packages. Unless they opt for a smaller salary – one park ranger only gets about $45,000, and those guys have to carry guns?

      The parks dept is representative of the bigger problem – too much management, not enough workers.

      • Jim March 17, 2019 at 7:06 am #

        How many of us would notice if they didn’t have a Landscape Inspector? Or the Resource Manager? I’m guessing none of us.

        The One Chico folks on facebook are in favor of a tax increase to fund more of this nonsense.

        I say, cut unnecessary staff.

      • Juanita Sumner March 17, 2019 at 7:11 am #

        did you notice, Park and Natural Resource Manager is listed twice? What’s that about? So many questions.

        One Chico and Chico are a bunch of reactionary idiots – just the kind of morons the city is looking for to run their campaign.

  2. bob March 17, 2019 at 8:16 am #

    Don’t know if it was done intentionally…that could very well be the case.

    The one thing I do know is that NO ONE will be held responsible. No one will be fired or even demoted.

    Who is going to pay to plant new oaks? It’s not going to be the people who were responsible.

    Once again, it will be the taxpayer. The taxpayers always take it in the shorts.

  3. bob March 17, 2019 at 8:18 am #

    Look at the pension mess in Costa Mesa. The situation in Chico is similar.

  4. Ken landis April 17, 2020 at 4:57 pm #

    So what happened to the lumber? Who benefitted from all that fine lumber? I

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