- This is by far the largest park volunteer organization, with more than 130 participants. They serve as the eyes and ears of the park rangers; providing park information and interpretation to park visitors, advising visitors of park rules, encouraging safety and informing park staff of hazards, vandalism and illegal activities. Contact the Park Division for more information about participating in this program.
- The Park Division sponsors spring and fall Upper Park trail maintenance. There are projects for volunteers of all ages and abilities. Contact the Park Division for more information.
Weekly Invasive Plant Removal Project
- Friends of Bidwell Park has a weekly volunteer program focusing on reducing the amount of invasive plants in the park. See our calendar for times and locations. We’ve been removing bladder senna, Japanese privet, bur-chervil, European olives, English and Algerian ivy, hackberry, puncturevine, pokeweed, periwinkle, and starthistle. Every Sunday from 9 am to noon, we pick up trash and remove invasive plants in Annie’s Glen and Camellia Way Park.
- If there’s a trail in any part of the park that you particularly enjoy or frequently use, you can adopt that trail (or a section of it), providing the maintenance and litter pickup that’s necessary to keep it in shape. The Park Division will help you develop a plan to take care of your trail, providing whatever training is necessary for proper pruning or trailbed repairs. Contact the Park Division for more information.
Donate Money to the Park Division, the Bidwell Park Endowment Fund or Friends of Bidwell Park
- On a per capita basis, Chicoans are far below the national average in donating financially to help their park system. If you have lots of money to donate, consider the Bidwell Park Endowment Fund (P.O. Box 3223, Chico CA 95927-3223). Chico’s General Fund currently pays for all of the park’s maintenance and some of the capital improvements too, while the majority of the capital improvements come from the occasional state park bond. The Endowment Fund is an alternate funding mechanism to provide Bidwell Park with an ongoing, non-tax based source of capital funds. There are a couple of projects that are essential to the long-term health of the park that probably will never be funded by the city–a scientific study of Upper Park’s soil erosion problems (on and off trail) along with a plan for trail improvements and maintenance (about $20,000) and a comprehensive study of the park’s flora and fauna.If you’re considering making a donation of a particular item to the Park Division, consider whether it will add to the park’s maintenance costs. Memorial benches ($1500 each) are a popular and worthwhile donation, but you might also consider making donations that will help make the division more efficient, such as specialized tools or equipment. Find out what the division really needs. They’ve compiled a wish list that’s available from the Park Division’s web site. Donations to the Park Division are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Currently there’s an adopt-a-tree donation program ($100 per tree planted) as part of the Bidwell Park 1905-2005 Centennial year.
If you have a smaller amount to donate, FOBP could use your contribution to help pay the monthly cost of maintaining our web site, purchasing tools and other volunteer supplies, photocopies and the like. Currently, we’re looking for funding to publish a brochure that we’re working on, called Don’t Plant a Pest, that lists alternatives to invasive landscaping plants (e.g. ivy, vinca, pyracantha, pampas grass) that are commonly used in the Central Valley.
Chico Cat Coalition
- The Chico Cat Coalition rescues cats and kittens that have been abandoned in Bidwell Park and finds homes for them. You can help by adopting one of their cats, providing temporary foster care for a few of the many kittens dumped in the park every year, donating money to help with their vet and adoption expenses, reporting cat dumping incidents (and there’s a $500 reward for this too) or volunteering to help in their program. As of May 2005, they had rescued 716 cats in the park, found homes for 567 of them, returned 15 to their owners, with 64 cats that died or escaped. They’re currently forstering 70 cats. If you care about cats (or the park birds), this may be the activity for you.
Adopt a picnic site
- If you live by or use a particular area of Bidwell Park a lot, you may want to adopt that site(e.g., picnic site, oak regeneration area, fence line, grove of trees, etc.) and gradually remove its invasive plants or keep it free of trash.
Invasive Vegetation Removal
- Is there an invasive plant in Bidwell Park that you really dislike? You may be able to get permission from the Park Division to start eliminating that pesky plant on your own. Puncturevine, ivy, privets, pokeweed, starthistle, vetch, periwinkle–the Park Division would be happy to let you start removing these plants.
- If your business or organization is looking for a group volunteer project, there are lots of opportunities to help in the park. You can help move a picnic site to a better location (or build the missing site #18), restore and paint park tables and benches, thoroughly clean up a heavily used park area, pull out invasive plants or propose your own project. Contact the Park Division for more information.
- Butte Environmental Council organizes a park and creek cleanup every September. Before the event, they need volunteers to scout out the worst trash areas of the park and creeks, distribute posters around town and recruit volunteers. On the day of the event, they need hundreds of volunteer of all ages to pick up trash. Of course, you can also pick up trash on your own whenever you visit the park — just remember to take along a trash bag or two.
Chico Creek Nature Center
- The Nature Center needs volunteers in its museum, to weed its native plant garden and to help with classes and camps.
- The California Native Plant Society has taken on the task of removing Spanish and French Broom in Upper Park. They meet several times each fall and winter to remove Broom. You don’t have to be a member to help. With more volunteers, they could tackle Broom on the south side of the creek too.
Pick up Fishing Line Around Horseshoe Lake
- The nylon fishing line and hooks that some careless anglers leave around Horseshoe Lake can be deadly for the geese and other waterfowl there. They can become tangled in the line or swallow it.
Barbed Wire Removal
- On the south side of Upper Park and, to a lesser extent, along the Upper Yahi Trail are many old wire fences. They are remnants of the time when cattle and sheep grazed in the park. These fences impede the movement of wildlife and people in the park. In some cases, where the wire is wrapped around trees, it’s killing the trees. Friends of Bidwell Park has developed a plan to remove this wire and needs some dedicated volunteers to implement the plan.
- Streaminders (Roger Cole 895-0866) and Kids & Creeks (www.kidsandcreeks.org) are two local groups involved in projects in riparian areas (the areas alongside a creek). Restoration involves taking out the invasive, non-native plants and trees along the creek and replacing them with native plants and trees. Streaminders needs help weeding, planting and watering. Kids & Creeks needs volunteers to help train and supervise kids who are doing similar work.
Attend Park-related Meetings
- Unless there’s a really controversial topic, only a few members of the public attend Park Commission and Committee meetings. The Commission meetings are televised so it’s an excellent way to let the Commissioners and the public know what you’re thinking or to make more people aware of problems or issues. Attend these meetings and speak up — the Commissioners generally are interested in hearing what you have to say.
Move a Picnic Site
- As Big Chico Creek meanders back and forth, some of the creekside picnic sites are about to fall into the water. If your business or organization has some construction skills, you can volunteer to move one of these sites and, at the same time, make it handicapped-accessible.
Build a Concrete Handicapped Parking Space at the Chico Creek Nature Center
- The Nature Center has a museum and bathrooms that are accessible, but they need a paved parking space too. If you work for a foundation contractor, ask about offering this service to the Nature Center.
Master Management Plan Update Citizens Action Committee
- A key component of the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan update is community participation. If you visit the park on a regular basis, have a particular recreational interest such as mountain biking or horseback riding, are interested in the park’s flora and fauna or have opinions about what should or shouldn’t be done to the park, you can and should participate. Call the Park Division to get meeting notices.
Invasive Plant Study
- If you have specialized knowledge about plants, restoration or an interest in learning more about the invasive plants in Bidwell Park, you can volunteer to help Friends of Bidwell Park with this study. It will focus on identifying and locating invasive plants, researching the best control methods for each specific plant, developing an implementation plan, seeking funding sources for major invasive removal projects and educating the public about invasives.
Oak Tree Revegetation Committee
- For a variety of reasons, oak trees are not regenerating in many areas of Bidwell Park. If you look around, you’ll see mature oaks but not many younger trees. In the spring of 2003, the Chico City Council endorsed the concept of an oak tree regeneration citizen’s committee. It’s been a couple of years since then, but the committee still hasn’t been formed. Maybe you can be the one to get it started?
Honoring the Volunteers
These are some of the people and organizations who volunteered their time to help Chico parks in 2003:
- 112 Park Watch volunteers spent many hundreds of hours in the park, helping the public, looking out for problems and generally making the park a better place to visit.
Deer Pen Volunteers
- Mike & Marcia von Kleist
- Don & Kristin Atkins
- Julia Lynch
- Butte Environmental Council — Organizing the Bidwell Park cleanups
- California Native Plant Society — Broom removal along Big Chico Creek
- Chico Cat Coalition — Removal of feral cats from Bidwell Park
- Michael Collins — Research for the Bear Hole interpretive sign
- Church of Latter Day Saints — Caper Acres painting and cleanup project
- Delta Sigma Pi — Park litter cleanups
- Kids and Creeks — Invasive, non-native plant removal and native plantings for replacements
- Laura Nissim — Invasive, non-native plant removal
- Robin Soloway and Syb Blythe — Horseshoe Lake cleanups
- Streaminders (Roger Cole, David Grau, Chuck Lundgren, Alex Mood, Michael Stauffer, Jessica Umbright) — Invasive, non-native plant removal and streambank stabilization
- Upward Bound for ESL Learners — Yearly litter removal, rock dam removal, and painting projects
- Valley Contractor’s Exchange — Relocating picnic table #33 so that it did not erode into the creek and also making it handicapped accessible
- Marty Van Doorn — Removing a cyclone fence located between Sandy Gulch and the 1st & Verbena Ave. park site
- Hollie Vinson — Work on the accessible fishing pier at Horseshoe Lake
Plus the hundreds of volunteers who participated in the semi-annual Bidwell Park and Creeks cleanups
Nick Bates Andrew Bell Kelly Bentley Margaret Bomberg Shane Bracken Jean Burnett Patrick Burns Harry Cadwalader Steve Chamberlain Colby Christensen Mike Costello Victoria Diaz-Infante Elizabeth & Donna Dolinar Neal Dunbar Janice Ervin Patricia Forester Steve Green Colleen Harvel Colleen Hess Tyler Honeyman Ian Hoff Heather Jay Keith & Karen Johnson Brian Jones Michael Jones David Kamangui Peter Klotter Dan Kumangui Arthur Lance Mark Lance Tomoko Lance Hilary Locke Phyllis Lindley Rachelle Mapote Susan Mason Denny McKenney Leticia Meraz Darrell Mefford Jason Monson Carla Moreno Sayuri Nemoto Brian Old Bob Orput Doug Perske Michael Pavel Nancy Prestopino Dan Reymann Edward Riley Paul Robertson Holly Savage Derek Schramel Phil Sheffield Larry Stemple Andrew Stokes Ted Thomsen Nathan Toews Kenny Trujillo Chrystal Tunnell Gary Viertell Corey Ward Krystal Young Marc Zanconella
Plus all those trail maintenance volunteers those whose names were illegible on the sign-in sheets