Think before you trash public land

By Are there reasonable expectations of how the public should act on public land?

Sun Jun 1 12:33:31 2003 -- Public lands are suffering not from neglect, but misuse and disrespect at the hands of the public, which probably doesnt know its irresponsible use has significant consequence.

Its not hard to understand how people can think because they pay the taxes that purchased the land, public property is theirs, to treat or mistreat as their own.


Recently the city had to post signs at Bidwell Ranch after finding the vernal pools it had paid so dearly to protect were being vandalized by off-road cyclists and vehicles.

There are plenty of bumps and gullies out in Chicos northeast corner to give a heck of a ride. Add water and stir, and its a mud playground. For whatever fun is found in revving a vehicle through mud, its destructive.

In upper Bidwell Park, the canyon walls send cyclists pell-melling down the slope, forcing them to grip and brake. Besides a great joy ride, those skidding, knobby tires rip the grasslands to shreds, giving birth to erosion and scars, some of which can still be seen even though they are decades old.

Reversing a long-standing policy, the city has agreed to allow cyclists on the upper park road during winter. Like cars, bike tires create deep ruts that trigger erosion, so they were banned when the trails and road got wet.

But cyclists begged a second chance, and theyre going to get it if they behave responsibly. Theyll have to stick to the road in the winter, and anyone who ventures off looking for a mud-sloshing adventure will ruin it for the group.

Modifying behavior calls for education, and the city is spending plenty of the same taxpayer dollars trying to educate us about acting responsibly.

What a shame that were not born with respect for the land.