7/28 vote on ARP off-road cycling

On July 28, 2016, the Sacramento County Recreation & Parks Commission will vote on a pilot project to allow bicycling on existing unpaved service and emergency roads in the Woodlake and Cal Expo areas of the lower American River Parkway.

Off-road bicycling is allowed along Lake Natoma.

Off-road bicycling is allowed on the Parkway along Lake Natoma.

The three-year pilot project has been part of the American River Parkway Plan since 2008. The Commission will be asked to approve a plan to implement the pilot project. If approved, the Woodlake-Cal Expo area could open for off-pavement bicycling this fall.

The project would allow bicyclists to ride on existing unpaved maintenance and fire roads. Equestrian trails would remain off limits. No new paths or trails would be constructed as part of the project. The project would include new signage to mark entrances, routes and restricted-access areas, as well as additional trash containers and ranger patrols.

Off-pavement bicycling is already allowed in the part of the American River Parkway upstream from Hazel Ave. that is administered by California State Parks. The pilot project will help determine whether off-pavement bicycling can be extended into the part of the Parkway administered by Sacramento County Parks downstream from Hazel Ave.

Reasons to support the pilot project

Off-pavement bicycling is a beneficial use. It is already allowed in the American River Parkway east of Hazel Ave. and has been part of the American River Parkway Plan since 2008. Bicyclists will use the same roads that police, fire and parks maintenance vehicles use every day. No new paths or trails will be constructed as part of this project.

Remains of an illegal campsite after a wildfire.

Remains of an illegal campsite after a wildfire.

The additional “eyes on the street” provided by off-pavement bicyclists can help discourage crime, illegal camping and camping-related problems such as trash and wildfires. This part of the Parkway needs help! A sex offender compliance operation conducted in the pilot project area of the lower Parkway over two days this spring led to 43 arrests, including 16 sex offenders and 27 others with outstanding warrants. Encouraging beneficial uses means fewer illegitimate uses, which will also improve conditions for runners, bicyclists who use the paved bike trail, and equestrians who have been forced out of the lower Parkway due to unsafe conditions.

The pilot project has broad community support. SABA and other bike groups and clubs, local bike shops, and nearby neighborhood associations, including the Woodlake Neighborhood Association and the Gardenland-Northgate Neighborhood Association, all support implementation of the pilot project.

Equestrians have been consulted at every step of the planning process and do not oppose the project. We believe the positive impacts of off-pavement bicycling can make the lower Parkway safer and more inviting for horseback riding.

What you can do

1. Call or email the commissioner who represents your County Supervisor district and urge him or her to vote YES on the implementation plan. (Not sure which district you live in? Find it here.)

2. Attend the Commission meeting at 6:30 PM, Thursday, July 28, 2016, at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center Assembly Building in Ancil Hoffman Regional Park, 2850 San Lorenzo Way, off Trashes Way. Click here for directions.