comments

No Shockley trails for at least a year

Director says discussing the item was ‘weird’
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
The Auburn Area Recreation and Parks District board said there will be no trail development on the Shockley property for at least a year. After a heated discussion that one director called weird, the board voted 4-1 not to improve the property for a minimum of 12 months. Director Gordon Ainsleigh voted against the motion. Director Scott Holbrook said he asked for the item to be put on Thursday’s board meeting agenda. “We have been discussing it in our Acquisition and Development Committee meetings,” Holbrook said. “Staff has spent a lot of time researching information. We have a lot of numbers, and I think we are in a position to decide whether we want to move forward on it.” In March 2009 the ARD board accepted a donation of 28 acres of land off Shockley Road near Auburn Ravine Road. The William B. Shockley and Emmy L. Shockley Trust donated the property along with $50,000 to establish and maintain the property for use as a park named for the Shockleys, according to district documents. In September 2009 the board issued a statement saying it had no intention of improving the property for public use in the near future, according to district documents. Auburn resident Warren Tellefson, who lives near the Shockley property, said he has seen people use the unimproved trails that already exist on the land. One of the board members asked Tellefson if he thought an improved trail system should go in. “Do you want an honest answer?” Tellefson asked. “No.” Randy Martin, of the trail construction company Trailscape, said he thought the item was becoming too complicated. “A trail is so simple, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be planned,” Martin said. “Most people that love trails will pick up trash as they go, so it’s almost maintenance-free. Just get it down to the $10,000 a mile to build the thing and call it a fire break.” Ainsleigh said the park was a “dying wish” of the Shockleys, and that the board has said in the past that it wants to encourage similar donations. “In doing so, it’s important we honor their intent,” Ainsleigh said. Ainsleigh said to not turn the property into a wildland park was “stomping all over Mrs. Shockley’s wishes.” Ainsleigh said the item was not ready to be decided on yet, and he asked the board to send it back to the committee. “Scott, putting this on and forcing it to come to a vote today, I think is incredibly premature,” he said. Ainsleigh said he was trying to come up with a way for the project to cost the district very little. Holbrook said he was not in favor of approving the trail system anytime soon. “We don’t have enough money in my opinion to take care of what we have now,” Holbrook said. Director Curt Smith said he wanted to put off the project to free staff to work on other efforts. Director Jim Gray said he thought a reasonable time to begin looking at the project again would be in six years. “This is way too soon, but I don’t disagree with what you are trying to do with the property,” Gray said. When asked if he thought it was a viable project for the board to consider approving in terms of finances and manpower, District Administrator Kahl Muscott said focusing on other projects might be more valuable. According to district documents, the project is estimated to have a total cost of $49,225 with an annual estimated cost of $2,320 per mile. There is currently $37,198 left in the Shockley Trust fund after paying Cal Fire to create a shaded fuel break on some of the property, according to Muscott. Ainsleigh said he was not happy with having to discuss the item at the meeting. “We must have wasted half an hour on this just because (Scott) brought it up for a vote,” he said. “This is weird.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com