In 2005, the 750-acre city-owned Bidwell Ranch (the property to the north as you enter Upper Park) was rezoned from residential to open space by a 4-3 vote of the City Council. River Partners was hired to develop a management plan, using the property as a mitigation bank. The city acquired the land in 1997 for $4M and has recouped much of the purchase price by selling sewer hookup connections that were unneeded once the property was rezoned. However, the city has not been able to quantify the current net property cost.
See Friends of Bidwell Park’s position paper on preserving the Bidwell Ranch property.
Here is a guest commentary in the Chico News & Review by Hilary Locke regarding Bidwell Ranch.
The Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC)
In 2009 proposed several alternative routes for new high voltage power lines through Northern California. One of the proposed lines would pass through Bidwell Park just east of Horseshoe Lake. TANC’s web site can be found here and a web site of project opponents can be found here. The initial comment period ended on May 31, 2009 but was extended several times due to lack of notification to affected parties. Eventually the project was put on hold.
Here is a comment that Friends of Bidwell Park submitted regarding the TANC project.
Upper Park has experienced a significant amount of vandalism including defacing and destruction of signs on the Yahi Trail, off-roading by four-wheel drive vehicles, unauthorized new trails and destruction of park property.
Viewshed and Park Boundary
In this case, viewshed refers to the view to the south from Upper Park Road. Development along the south ridge (shown in the photo above) is supposed to provide mitigation to avoid impacts to the views from Bidwell Park. It’s not clear whether these required mitigations are being met. The Park Commission expressed concern about the new construction on the park rim and formed an ad hoc committee with the Planning Commission to examine this.