Parks and Trails Master Plan – El Dorado County

El Dorado County has a “Parks and Trails Master Plan” document that is a great wealth of information. The problem is that it’s nearly 200 pages long!!

Parks and Trails Master Plan for El Dorado County

Parks and Trails Master Plan for El Dorado County

Lucky for you I’ve read it and am going to distill some key findings that I think are relevant to the efforts represented on this blog. If you think this summary is long, you should try reading the whole darn plan. LOL

Key findings in Master Plan –

  1. The Master Plan pretty much ignores most if not all of the trail issues I highlight. And the Plan definitely ignores anything going on inside El Dorado Hills CSD jurisdiction.
  2. Trails Advisory Committee (TAC) recommends destroying the 25 miles of singletrack trail in favor of class 1 with equestrian friendly shoulder (pg. 116) on The El Dorado Trail. Mountain bikers are the primary users of these 25 miles today and they, apparently, are omitted from the recommendations. The Friends of El Dorado Trail board, however, do have a plan to include mountain bikers.
  3. The county planners seem to value trails mostly for transportation (pg. 67, 160-161) probably because transportation generates more funds and paved trails have an offsetting effect in transportation models, resulting in more housing to generate fees and property taxes. Recreational purposes seem to be a secondary consideration.
  4. In the recommendations & funding priorities made for trails, no planning is identified for connectivity to the El Dorado Hills community. However Georgetown, Camino, Pollock Pines, El Dorado, Diamond Springs, and Shingle Springs are identified in 4 planning efforts, each costing $40,000. (pg.150, 160) And let’s be clear what they mean by “connectivity plans” – meaning the county only plans for connecting some communities to the El Dorado Trail (pg. 161) and not plan for connecting the myriad of other trails.
  5. This County plan limits itself to areas not covered by local entities such as El Dorado Hills CSD. (Pg. 51)
  6. Uses of open space are discussed in policy 7.6.1.1 (pg.19)
  7. Some insights into maintenance costs on the El Dorado Trail are offered (pg.152, 153, 160). Labor is 80% of maintenance costs (pg. 71), which is why volunteers are needed. The challenge is that people only volunteer for things they believe in and feel a connection to.
    • $348,000 – culvert repair
    • $35,000 – Los Trampos to Halcon maintenance
    • $20,000 – crack & slurry seal
    • $10,000 – brush clearing
    • $4,000 – extending fence
    • administration costs are not itemized
  8. The El Dorado Trail is envisioned as ultimately traversing the length of El Dorado County from its western border to the Tahoe Basin. Several sections have been developed to date, through multiple projects undertaken by the County and the City of Placerville.” (pg.49) The vision, as best I can tell so far, is for paved class 1 path along the full length. What I find interesting in the quote is that the existing 25 miles of rugged narrow track trail is apparently not considered developed or claimed as a project. And actually it’s worse than that. From what I’ve heard and researched so far, the existing narrow dirt trail is planned to be replaced with a class 1 paved path.  In fact, the funding priorities described in table 27 (pg. 160) identify the El Dorado Trail as the centerpiece of the county’s bicycle transportation plan.
  9. Surveys of public opinion in Diamond Springs, Greenwood, Placerville all identified trails as the #1 desired need for additional facility (pg.83-96). This correlates with my observations on the subcommittee.  And yet the largest single funding priority ($9.6 Million) is 5 neighborhood parks (pg. 159).  All of the community workshops identified *unpaved* trails as the top preference (pg.77-96).  That is true for the 1 “trails workshop” and the 3 “parks workshops”.  “Unpaved trails” are overwhelmingly preferred.
  10. El Dorado Hills CSD gets a “park impact fee” for every new single-family home built. $10,874 (pg. 18) Lesser fees are levied for other dwelling types.
  11. El Dorado Hills CSD is listed as a revenue source to the County to the tune of $107,000 in FY11/12.  (pg.155)
  12. SMUD trail with El Dorado Hills CSD has budget of $353,000 (FY2011/12) (pg. 152)
  13. Whereas there are specific requirements for acreage of parks per capita, there is NO such similar policy for trails (pg. 16).  Acreage guidelines for parks are in the county’s General Plan. (Pg. 66-67)
  14. Statements about vision, goals, objectives, and policy cite health, wellness, volunteerism, community building (pg.26-28). I’m going to bite my tongue and refrain from commenting on any of the policies.
  15. Map of trails proposed and existing is on page 47.
  16. Needs & recommendations are on pages 115-122.
  17. Partial list of western El Dorado County trails with length, surface type, and user types. (Appendix C)
  18. The Trails Advisory Committee is a subcommittee of the Parks and Recreation Commission, which is seated by appointees of the Board of Supervisors. (Pg.74) Both are BOS appointed. Names of supervisors, commissioners, and committee members are listed on page “i”.

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