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Local government seeks answers for state recreation area

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The city of Auburn, along with Placer and El Dorado counties, is sending the federal government a message about the Auburn State Recreation Area. On Jan. 10 the City Council approved a resolution to the Department of Interior requesting a permanent federal managing agency as well as a plan on how to come up with sufficient funds for the Auburn State Recreation Area. “It is therefore resolved that the Auburn City Council calls on the secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior to take immediate steps, in consultation with the city of Auburn and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, to: 1. Designate an appropriate and effective federal land manager for the Auburn State Recreation Area and 2. Provide sufficient funding to protect public safety, responsibly address wildfire prevention and fire suppression needs, properly manage the recreational use of ASRA lands, and protect ASRA’s natural, cultural and historical resources,” the resolution states. A similar resolution is set to go before the Placer County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Tuesday, according to Holly Heinzen, assistant county executive officer. The board already approved its 2011 legislative platform, which also mentioned the area, Heinzen said. The platform states the board will “support legislation, regulations and permanent federal funding for the management of federal lands managed as the Auburn State Recreation Area.” The platform outlines various problems with the recreation area, including the risk of certain parts being closed and the lack of a contract for fire protection. Supervisor Ron Briggs, of El Dorado County, said a resolution that is basically identical to Auburn’s is scheduled for approval at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. “There is a big chunk of land out there, and it’s quite a hazard, and the federal government isn’t doing anything about it,” Briggs said Thursday. Auburn Councilman Kevin Hanley said it’s not enough for the Bureau of Reclamation to keep Lake Clementine open but pay for fire after it happens – all issues need to be addressed proactively. Hanley said there is no timeframe for when the Department of Interior has to respond to the resolution, but he has communicated to the various agencies involved that decisions should be made by summer. Hanley said he thinks it’s also important that the city and two counties are all sending similar messages to the federal government. “The strategy of doing the resolution is you have Placer County, El Dorado County kind of on board on the same idea,” he said. “The idea was to get the major entities … all on the same page of what we want.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com