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Chico city park workers concerned about new safety hazard in Upper Bidwell Park

A man-made trail in Chico’s Upper Bidwell Park is starting to disrupt the park's natural environment.

Posted: Jan 28, 2020 5:36 PM
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 7:02 PM

CHICO, Calif. - A man-made trail in Chico’s upper Bidwell Park is starting to disrupt the park's natural environment.

Chico's park commission is calling it a rogue trail, it’s been constructed and people use it, but it didn't go through the parks department.

Park Ranger Dylan Bradford said this can pose a safety hazard for people and the environment.

Bradford said the people who created this put in features that could fool anyone into thinking it’s a safe and established trail by the city.

“They've put in a post here similarly matched to what the city uses and as you can see as you look down the trail it’s inundated with water and some erosion issues that could potentially form from the rogue trail,” Bradford said.

Bradford said he doesn't know who constructed this trail and he doesn't think it was malicious.

But to help preserve the natural beauty of the park he encourages people with ideas for new trails to go through the parks department.

The trail is the most developed of the unapproved trails in the park, but it’s not the only one in the area.

The park department's goal when it comes to establishing trails is to keep the natural beauty in the park.

"They've actually used a mechanical drill to drill down into the rock and break a piece off of it that way it kind of clears the way for the trail and you don't have to claim or ride over the rock itself," Bradford said.

Bradford said whoever constructed the trail used a pileup of logs and branches, but that causes another issue.

"Now all this dead material is essentially built up creating a potential fire hazard if one were to outbreak in the park," he said.

A bench overlooking Big Chico Creek is another piece of the trail that hasn't been approved by the city.

"It's a lovely spot to sit here and view the outdoors and Bidwell park itself but again like we've talked about there is a process we go through to establish new trails and features and just have to work together with the parks," Bradford said.

People who frequent Upper Park expressed their concerns to Action News Now.

Marcus says he stays on the paths he's familiar with because it's safer that way, but he says hearing about the rogue trail is upsetting.

"That's a concern obviously if folks like us are affecting that obviously we wanna be more aware of it so we can prevent those kinds of things from happening," Marcus said.

"People need to coordinate with park commission and part department so we can figure out the best place to put new trails," Bradford said.

The park department encourages people to call in if they see any construction or suspicious activity happening on the trails.

This will help preserve the history behind our parks.

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Air quality has worsened for most of northern California as a lot of smoke from our area fires as settled over the valleys and foothills. We can expect more hazy, smoky sunshine on Tuesday with light to moderate breezes as autumn begins.
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