State parks has been holdong public workshops for the Empire Mine trail system located in Grass Valley. The event was very positive and super exciting; generally speaking, State Parks has some great plans for new trail and restored trails in the Osborne Hill area of the park. The truly amazing thing is that all user groups have told state parks that they want only multiuse trails. What is different about Grass Valley that makes users willing to share?
Here is an equestrian’s perspective of the same meeting. This is from the Gold Country Trails Council’s newsletter:”Osborne Hill Public Workshop Update (Submitted by Mary Lundin)
Four GCTC members attended the Public Workshop about the closed trails at Empire Mine State Park on Saturday, October 27th. Sally Hursh, Mary Abbott, Worth and Mary Lundin participated in this informational and public input forum. Because of high levels of toxic metals, some trails were closed in January in the Osborne Hill area of Empire Mine. State Parks Superintendent Ron Munson and Trails Manager Karl Knapp presented a PowerPoint slideshow detailing existing and proposed replacement trails. This was a very educational, well-presented workshop. It became clear by the end of the 2-hour presentation and question and answer session that this community values the availability of all trails being open to all non-motorized user groups. Comments received prior to this workshop did indicate a desire by some walkers/hikers to have some trails not open to horses or bicycles. This was given consideration by the Parks Service by designating a “hikers only” area within the Osborne Hill area. During discussion of this request, the point was made that access to the area would be on shared trails. One trail known to bicyclists as “The Wire”, was being considered as a designated “bike only” trail due to the steepness and potential for portions of the trail to be constructed of rock that could be considered by other users to be slippery. Again, with discussion, it was pretty clear that users would use trails they are comfortable with and should not be “user specific.” A sign designating this trail as “Recommended for Bicyclists” was suggested. This was in stark contrast to other areas of California where the Parks Service found the different user groups to be in conflict with each other. It was clear to those in attendance that the cooperation between the people of this community is unique and makes the outdoor experience that we share even more appreciated. Index cards were made available to all participants to make suggestions and requests. These cards will be used in the final decision-making process to evaluate and incorporate as many of the desires of this community as possible.”