Saturday, June 24, 2006

Public/Private Partnership Creates New Trail

This article from the Bee today is about a very nicely located new trail that has been opened in the County as a result of a public/private partnership between SMUD and the nonprofit Nature Conservancy.

Public/Private Partnerships are one of the best ways to achieve open space goals in an era of shrinking public resources for land acquisition and parks/open space management.

It is the kind of arrangement we would like to see between local government and the American River Parkway someday soon, and it would help resolve the funding and management problems facing the Parkway these past several years.

Here is an excerpt.

Trail lets hikers coexist with cows and experience nature
7-mile walk winds through ranch alive with seasonal pools.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -- Bee Staff Writer Published 12:01 am PDT Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hikers and cows will coexist on a new, seven-mile trail opened Friday in the Rancho Seco Recreational Area.

In the works for three years, the new trail starts at the north end of Rancho Seco Lake and loops into the adjacent Howard Ranch, a privately owned cattle ranch on which the Nature Conservancy holds a deed restriction that prevents development.

The trail is one of the first local experiments in allowing people to recreate alongside grazing cows, said Jaymee Marty, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy.

"We have certain rules -- no dogs, no bikes, no horses, just pedestrians and wheelchairs," Marty said. "We also have a sign that says not to interfere with the livestock."

The man who owns Howard Ranch, Jim Chance, has agreed not to put bulls in the area.

"Time will tell, but I can't see why it wouldn't work," said Chance, who attended Friday's dedication ceremony by the Nature Conservancy and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which operates the recreation area.