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Auburn-to-Cool trail Northern CA> more

Hi Folks: This Opinion is in today's Auburn Journal. It is a combined
statement of Craig Dennis, the Publisher, and Deric Rothe, the editor
Steven Proe

Our view Bridge necessary to keep trail open

The idea of building a bridge over the American River to keep the
well-traveled Auburn-to-Cool trail open gets our support.
With the confluence area already a popular destination point for hikers,
cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts, the trail to the south that now
travels in and out of the American River canyon at the Auburn dam site, has
served as an important pressure valve for runners, hikers and equestrians.
A public hearing last Thursday on the draft environmental impact report for
river restoration and the Placer County Water Agency's pump station project
showed that most people want a crossing and a bridge is the most popular
The main question now is whether the final environmental impact report and
final plan due out early next year should consider and ultimately include 
a bridge.
That would be an additional cost tacked on to a project that is already
expected to come in at $31 million, but it would be well worth the cost. -
While one speaker jokingly said that it would, be easy to chip in another
$5000 to $10,000 for a bridge, another speaker  Western States Endurance
Run race director Greg Soderlund  was quick to predict the cost would be
much higher.
A 1992 estimate for a span across the middle fork of the American River at
Rucky Chucky Rapids came in at $100,000, he said. But the, point where this
crossing would take place would be much wider than Rucky Chucky, increasing
the cost even further, he noted.
Another solution, would be a temporary bridge that could be
 used during the dry months and taken out before the rainy season
 not pleasing to year-round canyon users but perhaps a low-cost, temporary
solution to keep the trail  and all options 4 open.
If the project goes ahead without a bridge, there could still be time to
come up with one by the time construction is completed on the pump station
and the river is restored in 2004.
During the construction . phase the canyon area will be closed anyway.
If there is no money in place to go ahead immediately, the final EIR could
include language instructing the river architect to design the plan to
support a future span across the river
Similar to the public-private effort to keep the Mountain Quarries
Railroad-No Hands Bridge closer to the confluence open, work could start now
to continue to work toward eventual construction of a bridge.
The American River canyon frail system is an awesome natural resource for
the Auburn area. Outdoor enthusiasts already know this, which explains their
fervor. in defending the bridge idea at last Thursday's hearing.
The Placer County Water Agency should realize the value  of keeping that
area open and consider any and all options to do so.
Building a bridge for foot, cycle and equestrian traffic over the American
River is the right thing to do. Both public and private funding sources
should be explored.

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