Trail bridges over the American River canyon at Greenwood and Auburn are part of a draft proposal opened up for discussion this summer by State Parks.So are plans for camping facilities on the El Dorado County side of the American River canyon across from Auburn.
And people have through July 23 to share their opinions on the new general plan being prepared for the Auburn State Recreation Area by answering an online questionnaire.
Park Superintendent Mike Howard said that the trail bridge and camping proposal has sparked concerns about increased fire danger, particularly from residents of areas in Auburn perched on the canyon rim.
Some of that concern has dissipated after residents learned that an alternative proposal for camping facilities at China Bar on the Auburn side of the American River had already been removed because of public input, Howard said.
That left some people to still express concerns about a bridge being built over the river and bringing more traffic onto the Auburn side. Howard said that environmental studies will be taking place through 2019 and one of the impacts to be looked at will be fire mitigation.
The Auburn-to-Cool bridge would mark a return of sorts to foot traffic below Auburn. A diversion tunnel for the American River was built as part of Auburn dam construction, allowing hikers, runners and horses to cross over the river from El Dorado County to Placer County. The river was daylighted a decade ago and the tunnel closed off but the Placer County Water Agency pledged $600,000 to help fund a bridge.
The second bridge being considered would be on the middle fork American River at the former Greenwood Bridge site. The Greenwood Bridge — then a vehicle crossing — was washed out when an upstream dam collapsed in 1964.
Plans for the Knickerbocker Flat area across the river from Auburn include up to 50 individual campsites.
“The river is clearly a natural fire break (to Auburn-area fire concerns),” Howard said.
A statewide goal of the Parks Department is to increase camping opportunities, he said. In all, the draft proposal is considering 245 more individual campsites and five group sites.
The online questionnaire can be accessed at opentownhall.com/6431
To see the original article and pictures in the Auburn Journal newspaper, CLICK HERE.