[Shelley Wiley, Board of Supervisors]
(PLACERVILLE, CA) – On February 18, 2020, El Dorado County District IV Supervisor Lori Parlin joined Cool residents Joanne Thornton and Sandy Ollen in downtown Sacramento to meet with California State Parks Director Lisa Mangat regarding the proposed Plan for the Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA). The discussion focused on the Plans’ potential impacts on public safety, including traffic congestion, river drownings, vegetation management, and wildfire evacuation.
“The purpose of the meeting was to share information with Director Mangat to explain that the currently proposed Plan is unacceptable and the local residents are willing and ready to work with State Parks to come up with a better plan – one that will ensure that public safety is a top priority,” said Supervisor Parlin.
Auburn SRA is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, northeast of Sacramento. It includes about 30,000 acres of public land that is situated along nearly 40 linear miles of the north and middle forks of the American River. California State Parks manages the state recreation area through a managing partner agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). The Plan recognizes that the population of the three counties around Auburn SRA is predicted to grow by 30% over the next 20 years. Due to the anticipated increase in visitors to Auburn SRA, the Plan proposes facilities and recreation opportunities and guidelines to accommodate and manage this population jump.
The Plan has been in progress for several years, but frustrations have grown over the lack of opportunity for community involvement in El Dorado County. Prior to August 15, 2019, all of the community meetings were held in Auburn in Placer County. The August 15, 2019 meeting was held in Cool in El Dorado County. State Parks has received several hundred comments and all public comments received so far are carefully being reviewed and considered. They will guide the Final Environmental Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) that is anticipated to be released this spring. The final Plan still needs to be approved by the State Park and Recreation Commission and more opportunities for public comment will be available before the final plan is approved.
“Director Mangat was very receptive and engaged during our discussion and I am hopeful that this is the first of many positive interactions with her and her staff to address issues surrounding the Plan,” said Parlin.