These articles are from the Sierra Club Yahi Group’s conservation report taken from their Fall 2008 and Spring 2010 newsletters. They were written by by Grace Maria Marvin, Conservation Chair.
Disc Golf — 2008
Many members of the Yahi group are also very concerned about the upcoming votes of the Park and Playground Commission, and then, of Chico City Council concerning disc golf, one of four projects proposed for the 3,670 acre park (the largest per capita municipal park in the nation!). Disc golf has been seriously harming the vegetation (including Blue Oak and Checkerbloom) in Upper Bidwell Park for the last ten years, during which time it never was an officially sanctioned activity. It is essential to note that this part of the park is exquisitely beautiful—with views to match—and oriented towards more non-intensive recreation and open space preservation consistent with Resource Conservation Area status (Final EIR 2-9). But disc golf advocates have been numerous and vocal at meetings of the Citizens Advisory Committee, the Park Commission and the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan (BPMMP). They are proposing in that Plan to build more elaborate long and short courses that are supposed to be nature friendly. The Final EIR (Environmental Impact Report), including these alternative golf course building plans, was made available for public review on July 15, 2008.
Although the city’s EIR announcement stated that the project could have significant negative effects on the environment, it also stated that the “Draft EIR contains measures that would reduce the impacts to less than significant. We do not believe that the mitigated impacts will be less than significant, and thus we ask Yahi members and other citizens to either (1) not certify the EIR because it has those faults, or (2) my preference, vote for the Restoration option. That would mean attempts would be made to restore the ecological health and biological diversity in the area where the unofficial disc golf course now exists, and efforts would be made to seek another place in Chico to have these disc golf courses.
It is true that the contract Annie Bidwell made with the city, when she donated land to the city in 1905, is no longer binding and that more land has been added to the park; but that does not mean the non disc golf playing people of Chico and Butte County want the spirit of her contract diminished. One of her four major conditions for donating the land to the park was that the city shall preserve, as far as reasonably possible, for the beauty of said park as well as for the preservation and protection of the waters of Chico Creek, all of the trees, shrubs, and vines therein, and it shall sacredly guard the same and only remove such thereof it may find absolutely necessary. While being aware that some City council members seem not to be very environmentally aware, let’s contact and educate them before the vote! (See documents and photos at http://www.chico.ca.us/ common/_mod_resource.asp?p=179&f=50).
Disc Golf — 2010
We share the disappointment of many environmentalists with the Chico City Council’s response in April to questions about short and long disc golf courses; we are particularly concerned about disc golf activities and policies at the environmental ly magnificent Bidwell Park course site near Highway 32. Chico needs much more sympathetic members on City Council. At least three members who presented themselves, formerly, as being on the side of protecting the park, seem more concerned now about getting re-elected – thereby allowing disc golfers to further erode soils, bushes, trees, etc. As Conservation Chair and earlier as Yahi Chair, I have complemented the extraordinary efforts of Friends of Bidwell Park with numerous written YAHI Conservation Notes By Grace Marvin, Yahi Conservation Chair and oral statements to the City Council and to the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission (BPPC).