Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nature trail faces new fate


Dave Rodden carries 6-month-old Rilo as Jenna watches over 3-year-old Finley on Thursday afternoon on the nature trail near Northstar Park. Dave's father Robb helped plant along the trail when it was built in the 1990s. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | December 20, 2013 | 4 Comments

Is it rebirth? Or destruction?

Davis resident Karen Froyland stood Thursday on what she considers the original “deer trail” of the Northstar Nature Trail in the Northstar interior greenbelt. Residents say it was established in the early 1990s.

Under her feet were off-white pulverized granite pebbles and dirt, and above her stood a rust-colored metal arbor. Native trees, grasses and plants punctuate the path, but there is something else going on.

City landscapers are making new paths, piling up dirt that, to her, ruins the whole point of having irrigation by drainage down the gentle slope that leads to the path. New trails are too wide, seem to run through native grasses at some point and will kill trees, she said.

The wind blew fiercely, but Froyland and others’ criticism of what is happening at the nature trail is no less cold.

“They are ripping it up,” she said. “That’s what our question is: Why are they ripping it up?”

City of Davis parks manager Dave Lucksheider said the city is not “ripping it up,” but embarking on small-scale rehabilitation of buried trails, a slow project that is in the midst of being done. Why, look at the brochure map at the trailhead — the one city parks officials took down to use as their blueprint for what should be done.

“We’ll get a new map posted soon,” he said.

Davis resident Penny Anderson wrote a letter to the editor of The Enterprise saying she is puzzled why the city is bothering with the trail when it took out half the garbage cans and seems to do less park maintenance.

“We really felt like we were out in the country,” she wrote of the trail experience. “It was a quiet area. Not anymore.”

The trail, north of Norte Avenue, was established by the Habitat Conservation Fund, the Davis Adopt-A-Park Program and the city parks department. Lucksheider said it was done as a volunteer project.

Citing the map, he said the new-looking trails are indicated as part of the original plan on the map, with loopbacks and crossings.

“(Residents) just may not be aware of other mulching paths,” he said, adding that city workers are able to work on it only a couple of hours each day, which may add to an unfinished look.

“It’s still the same existing trails, it’s just that there were trails that disappeared,” Lucksheider said. “It’s basically mulch that’s been moved out of the way.”

Froyland sees things differently. The new-looking trails of the path are inviting kids to race their BMX bikes where solemn, meditative walks by older residents once occurred.

“There’s people all the time walking,” she said. “There’s people all the time reading.”

In the meantime, Lucksheider isn’t sure when the rehabilitation project will end.

— Reach Dave Ryan at or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews



Discussion | 4 comments

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  • RKDecember 20, 2013 - 9:04 am

    Karen Froyland doesn't like change, any change. We are talking about mulch here. She should let them do their jobs.

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  • Patti AndersonDecember 22, 2013 - 10:26 am

    Change? Mulch? No! Digging trails in a dedicated area such as the Nature Trail was the subject of the story. My children worked with their grandfather on the "Nature Trail." It was part of the Adopt A Park Program as well as a beneficiary of a nature conservancy. When pathways were carved in the area, that changes the flow of rain, sprinkler water on the plants and trees. Why don't you ask the Parks Dept. for the brochure that had been posted at the entrance to the Trail that explains the selection of the native plants and trees for the "demonstration garden." What is being done is changing the purpose of the Trail that was a BIG project that the City was proud of. It has been featured in at least three national magazines and has been visited by urban planners from various towns in California. I am signing this with my name not just initials! Patti Anderson

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  • December 20, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    Considering the original planning and effort, along with the many who worked on the trail, LuckSheider, might need to consult some of the residents in the area before proceeding to ruin what was a great trail, which apparently has now become a free for all BMX bike racing path.

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  • K. FroylandDecember 22, 2013 - 11:16 am

    I have no problem with change. Since you did not sign your name to your comment I do not know if you know me. The Nature Trail & Demonstration Garden was a wonderful project that was well thought out by the City. All those who volunteered for the unique project thought they were adding a special and unique area to the park and that visitors would enjoy a quiet place to sit and relax, read or simply walk thru. Money was donated for the project from a "Conservancy Fund" and the Adopt a Park program was also included. It is a very small area in the Northstar Park so those who enjoy the area were saddened when the area was dug up, plants removed or covered with soil. Maybe the Parks Department didn't know what the Nature Trail was. Although they did remove the brochure that was displayed on the Northstar Nature Trail bulletin board next to the entrance to the trail. If the City wants to change the trail in to something else they could do that in other areas that currently have no use. One area that could be developed in on the south side of the bike path between the two eastern entrances. K. Froyland

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