Recreation Area plan inadequate

Reader Input
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At the public meeting held Oct. 26 at the Domes regarding the future management and funding of the 26,000-acre Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) (Journal, Oct. 27), I challenged two statements made by Bureau of Reclamation District Manager Mike Finnegan earlier in the meeting. Many of the attendees, including myself, were left with the impression from Mr. Finnegan’s comments that BOR could properly manage ASRA for public health, recreation and safety with a budget increase from the current $1.1 (million) to $2 million a year and that his agency can maintain the status quo until at least Sept. 30, 2012. I challenge both the funding and timeline assumptions. As one who has worked three neighborhood fuel reduction projects with over 100 Auburn volunteers, there is no way that a $2 million annual BOR budget could cover badly needed fuel reduction work. The canyon is so thick with brush and dead and unhealthy trees, that the reality is a huge effort is needed to ensure public safety from a catastrophic fire. Secondly, while the Sept. 30, 2012 deadline may be appropriate as it relates to developing a long-term funding solution to ensure that Lake Clementine stays open, using this date could give the false impression that we have a lot of time to work out a comprehensive solution for ASRA. The reality is that a catastrophic wildfire could break out next August or September and have devastating impacts on Auburn and Placer County. Such an event could stop all or most recreational activities as the canyon is turned into a moonscape. Let’s work together and with urgency to develop a long-term solution that will improve public safety and recreational opportunities for those who love our canyon. Kevin Hanley, Auburn