Placer seeks public input on proposed expansion of Hidden Falls Regional Park Trail Network

Published on June 07, 2018

Placer County is taking the next step in a proposed expansion of the popular Hidden Falls Regional Park trails system near Auburn.

The county has issued a revised notice of preparation for a subsequent environmental impact report for the expansion proposal. The public comment for this notice of preparation extends through July 6. A public scoping meeting to solicit input on the expansion plan will be held June 14 from 6-8 p.m. in the Placer County Planning Commission Hearing Room, located at 3091 County Center Drive in Auburn.

A notice of preparation for the proposed project was originally released in January 2017, followed by a public scoping meeting that February; a revised notice of preparation is being released because the project description is being modified to reflect the county’s potential purchase of the 50-acre Twilight Ride property north of the park, along Bell Road. The property could be used to provide additional parking and access to Hidden Falls Park. More information about the land purchase agreement is available.

Thanks to a partnership with the Placer Land Trust, approximately 2,500 acres of open space near the 1,200-acre Hidden Falls Park have been preserved and could accommodate the expansion of the trail system from Hidden Falls to the Bear River. This would result in a trail system approximately 60 miles in length, providing hikers, cyclists and equestrians alike with access to more than double the length of existing multi-use trails.

To improve access to the park, the county proposes to build a parking lot and trail connection from a county-owned parcel off of Garden Bar Road to the existing parking lot at Mears Place. Additional parking and trail access are proposed from the Twilight Ride property on Bell Road, as well as from the Harvego Bear River property located north of the park.

Other features of the proposed expansion include those uses already allowed under the current use permit for the park: Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant accessibility features, drinking water fountains, restrooms, on-site groundwater wells, fire suppression facilities, equestrian features (horse watering and hitching posts, horse boarding facilities), other potential concessions compatible with the characteristics of the park (e.g., bicycle rentals, nature education classes), picnic areas, benches, bear-proof trash receptacles and interpretive displays.

The purpose of a NOP is to provide sufficient information about the proposed project to allow agencies and interested parties the opportunity to provide a response related to the scope and content of the project’s subsequent environmental impact report, including mitigation measures that should be considered and alternatives that should be addressed.

There will be additional discussions on the project at upcoming meetings of all seven municipal advisory councils located in western Placer County.

Questions can be addressed to the project manager, Lisa Carnahan, or at 530-889-6837. To make formal comments on the project, which will become a part of the administrative record, please direct them to Shirlee Herrington.