Bike ban on ditch trail is a mistake
Last week, the Nevada City City Council initiated the process of making the existing, but unofficial, sewage treatment plant trail closed to cyclists.
Friends of Deer Creek plan to improve the existing trail on the Rough and Ready Ditch starting at the end of Jordan Street in Nevada City to Champion Mine Road. They also plan to remove invasive non-native species, plant native species and add interpretive signage along the trail and creek.
Originally the trail was used daily by the ditch tender to inspect the ditch. After the ditch was abandoned by NID, it started getting used by locals as a walking trail and by cyclists to connect Jordan Street to Ridge Road and Champion Mine Road.
There were three Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC) members who spoke at the City Council meeting. We all shared our view that the trail would be a fantastic benefit to the city and it would be an even better trail if it were open to pedestrians and cyclists alike. Many supporters and volunteers of the Friends of Deer Creek spoke at the City Council meeting as well. Not one member of the public voiced their opposition to cyclists being on the proposed trail, and many even showed their support to the trail being open to cyclists.
Despite hearing opinions from the public regarding cyclists on the trail, the City Council’s motion was to keep the trail open to foot traffic only. The City Council approved trail for pedestrians only, 4 to 1.
BONC applauds the Friends of Deer Creek for making the trail and the City Council for approving the trail. We think that the trail will be a great asset to recreation in Nevada City. BONC has even committed to help Friends of Deer Creek build and maintain the trail. We had agreed to help “police” the trail from vandals, transient, etc., but now that cyclists will not be allowed on the trail, I’m afraid the trail will not benefit from our presence.
We feel that eliminating bicycles from this trail was a big mistake. Cyclists that have been riding this trail for years will now be riding the trail illegally. Parents who take their children on the trail with their bicycles will be doing it illegally. Kids who want to ride their bike to school or just for fun and find the trail a safer route than the city streets will be doing so, illegally.
Restricting the use bicycles on the trail also hinders the long-term planning of connecting the trial to Bureau of Land Management land and potential trails downstream from the sewage treatment plant.
We would like to thank council member David McKay for supporting the trail as a multi-use trail. We look forward to continuing our relationship with local citizens, non-profit groups and various governmental organizations to increase multi-use trail opportunities in our area.
Hyland Fisher, vice-president of Bicyclists of Nevada County, lives in Nevada City. He is a draftsman for an architect and is working towards his architecture license.
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