Lots of ways to increase county’s recreation opportunities | TheUnion.com

Lots of ways to increase county’s recreation opportunities

The past several months provided an exciting opportunity, through the Natural Heritage 2020 process to see concerned citizens working together for the good of Nevada County. Community Advisory Committee members and Recreation Working Group members with very diverse backgrounds and interests brought many strengths to the table in an effort to understand the recreational opportunities and challenges in Nevada County.

While we were given the charge to focus on long-range goals to protect both existing and future opportunities for recreation as a means of retaining open-space lands, we found it necessary to expand our focus to cover many aspects of recreation, not all related to the use of open space. Our recommendations reflect that.

For example, to increase and improve access to recreation facilities for residents and visitors, we believe the county should:

— Expedite the permit process for park districts and private groups developing recreation facilities.

— Support two new park districts in western Nevada County.

— Improve access to public lands for all ages, incomes and abilities.

— Place recreation facilities near population centers and wherever they are lacking.

— Create a wider range of access for all recreation users.

To begin systematically using recreation as an economic driver:

— Market recreation and tourism as an economic driver.

— Promote the development of larger regional special events venues.

— Examine county regulations that may inhibit or prevent economic development.

— Public and private recreation providers jointly market recreation in Nevada County.

And, to protect property rights:

— Ensure that public recreation does not harm adjacent private landowners.

— Support public access to recreation areas without violating private property rights.

— Emphasize willing seller/donor transactions and fair compensation of property owners, and do not use eminent domain in implementation of recreation facilities.

All of us worked diligently to consider as many aspects of recreation as possible. Our members were instrumental in researching, surveying, and contacting experts in every area that might have a bearing on final recommendations. We know we all learned quite a few new things about our beautiful county. We’re sure all would agree that we came away from the process with an expanded appreciation of Nevada County, as well the consensus process that led to our recommendations. We are proud that these recommendations provide both increased recreation opportunities to those of us who call the county home, and opportunities for improving our local economy.

Finally, we thank our fellow NH 2020 working group members for their hard work and commitment: Paul Schwartz, Rorie Lin Gotham, Brian Bisnett, Jim Chatigny, John Eaton, Jim Meshwert, Josh Susman, Geri Bergen, Ted Owens, Bill Locker and Karen Wyeth.

Debbie Casey is the director of Amenities for East West Partners in Truckee. Gary Clarke is the director of Youth Basketball for the Bear River Recreation and Park District.

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