Friends of Bidwell Park
P.O. Box 3036
Chico, CA 95927

August 5, 2003

Dennis Beardsley, Park Director
City of Chico
411 Main St.
Chico, CA

Dear Dennis,

We are very pleased that Chico is updating the Bidwell Park Master Management Plan (MMP). Bidwell Park is the heart of our community and, as such, deserves the best when it comes to analysis and management of this unique and irreplaceable resource. We all have a responsibility to ensure that future generations inherit a park that possesses the same natural qualities that community members enjoy today. Development and implementation of a comprehensive MMP represents a commitment by Chico to balance the multiple needs of park users with the protection of the natural qualities of the park.

We suggest that the MMP include the following items:

  • Clarify the concept and use of Park Management Units, including a description of their qualities, both recreational and natural, and designation of intended use (passive vs. active). Goals and objectives for park management and recreational opportunities should be tiered to the Management Units. Provide information and specific plans for fuel management in each management unit to prevent catastrophic fires from occurring.
  • Provide an analysis of community needs and preferences by conducting surveys of community members (not just park users). Queries should also allow participants to prioritize resource considerations such as trails and bikeways, habitat preservation, park maintenance, facilities enhancement, dedication of city staff time to seek alternative funding sources, etc. Current and projected demographic information should also be included.
  • Provide analysis and strategic plans for invasive plant management in both Lower and Upper Park.
  • Provide an analysis of the condition and trends of soil erosion in Upper Park and creek bank erosion in Lower Park. The MMP should identify site-specific erosion problems and evaluate and suggest methods to address currently active soil erosion. Identify areas that require yearly maintenance due to high use or because they are located in particularly erodible areas.
  • Provide information and plans for identifying and protecting sensitive wildlife and plant species and cultural resources.
  • Provide information and a plan for identifying, protecting and managing critical wildlife use areas and diurnal and seasonal wildlife migratory corridors.
  • Provide information and plans for riparian restoration and oak tree regeneration.
  • Provide accurate analysis of existing trails, designation of trails for official closure and identification of future trail development needs based on objective data collected in a scientific survey of park users. Outline methods for reducing rogue trail development, and enforcing trail use and closure rules.
  • The MMP should clearly identify the process by which new park projects are considered and managed. Analyze the need for and feasibility of all park developments currently under consideration.
  • Provide information and a strategic plan for management of the urban interface such as landowner access on rogue trails from south-rim developments, rubbish and yard waste dumping, fire hazards, non-native vegetation encroachments into the park, feral cats, etc.
  • Include the use of, and reference to, existing information such as past consultants reports, Master’s Theses, Bidwell Park and Playground Commission Minutes, and local resource experts.
  • Provide information regarding the cost of proposed capital projects, costs of ongoing maintenance needs and current and possible sources of funding.

In addition, we suggest that the MMP includes a phased implementation timeline. Mandatory third party performance audits should be periodically conducted with the BPPC to confirm that the plan is being implemented on schedule.

We plan to participate fully in the MMP update and to enlist the help of local resources to insure that the plan not only contains the most accurate, complete information available at this time, but also provides a vision for the future. Friends of Bidwell Park appreciate this opportunity to help Chico enhance the recreational opportunities and protect the valuable natural qualities of Bidwell Park.


Susan Mason President, Friends of Bidwell Park

Cc. Chico City Council
Bidwell Park and Playground Commission
Tom Lando, City Manager
Kim Seidler, Planning Director