Auburn State Recreation Area funding issues to be on front burner at forum

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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With the threat of the federal funding tap being turned off for the Auburn State Recreation Area, Placer County and Auburn officials are providing a public forum Tuesday to consider ideas to keep it open. Supervisors Jim Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery will join Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes on Tuesday to host what is being billed as community comment and outreach meeting. Montgomery’s District 5 takes in much of the canyon lands that make up the recreation area. The meeting is being held to give the public the opportunity to hear the most current information on a proposal to close the area and to offer solutions to help prevent that from happening, she said. Montgomery, Jim Holmes and Mike Holmes have been working on recreation-area survival issues for more than a year. With federal funding for the area decreasing, all or part of the park could close, including Lake Clementine. “We need to raise public awareness of the problem so that we can work together with our federal electeds to solve this problem,” Montgomery said. “We will ask the public to brainstorm ideas for maintenance and fire protection and come up with potential solutions to the ongoing funding shortfall.” Councilman Holmes said he’s anticipating suggestions that Placer County and Auburn solve the financial shortfall themselves. “But as I see it, it’s a federal issue,” Holmes said. One possibility is combining the Folsom State Recreation Area and Auburn State Recreation Area into a single funding entity to continue recreation in the canyon below Auburn until a dam is built, Holmes said. The recreation area attracts about 1 million visitors yearly, with 100,000 using Lake Clementine, according to state Parks Department estimates. The public forum will hear from state parks, U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and elected officials on recreation-area issues. Supervisor Holmes said that the park is entering the winter season, when recreation area visitor numbers decrease. That could mean it’s less apt to be on people’s minds, he said. “But it’s important to keep any momentum up and it’s important that people understand where we’re at,” Holmes said. “Particularly because the trend is for downsizing funding.” -------------------------------------------------- Community meeting on the Auburn State Recreation Area When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday Where: Board of Supervisors Chambers, 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn