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Another View

Hidden Falls expansion project on Bell would benefit public

By: Maureen Henderson
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Hidden Falls Park has been a huge success. Everyday, people flock to Hidden Falls and enjoy miles of hiking and riding trails through acres and acres of open space. Currently being considered is an expansion of the trail system that connects Hidden Falls to other open space preserves. The 50 acres of open space preservation will provide parking, so people can access thousands of acres of open space all the way to the Bear River.

Those of us in support of the Expansion Project have listened to, and read, the objections by surrounding property owners. The majority of our members also live in rural or semi-rural areas and understand the concerns voiced by those in opposition to this expansion. While we have an understanding of their concerns, the parcels which have been acquired over the years by the Placer Land Trust are intended for “public use.” The purpose of these acquisitions is to provide outdoor recreation to the public.

As the Sacramento Valley expands and our suburban areas grow, the demand for open space continually increases. There is not much purpose to acquiring lands for public use if the public is unable to gain access to them. Having access is tantamount to the future expansion of Hidden Falls Regional Park. The Bell Road area is a critical piece of the puzzle that fulfills the vision of a trail network opening up and connecting various land holdings to the public.

Providing other access points with sufficient parking to Hidden Falls will greatly reduce the current pressure placed on the Mears Place access road. Examples of other California Parks with residential area in close proximity are: (1) Briones Regional Park surrounded by the towns of central Contra Costa County. This regional park has five major access points, and (2) Annadel State Park situated at the northern edge of Sonoma Valley. Access to Annadel is through an upscale residential area.

In my position as trails liaison of the Loomis Basin Horsemen’s Association, I know the Bell Road acquisition is an important addition to the county’s trail network and would truly benefit the public. Hopefully, our county supervisors will expedite this project and enhance our trail network for everyone.

Maureen Henderson is the past president and trails liaison for Loomis Basin Horsemen’s Association.