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Plans for bike path in Roseville could lead to ‘trail rage’

Linda Creek supporters fight threats to environment
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Tour of migratory birds visiting Linda Creek

What: Naturalist Scott Dietrich leads tour of birds in open space area

When: 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Where: Meet at entrance of Linda Creek Open Space at end of Woodlake Lane in Roseville. Cross street is Charleston Circle.

Info: Free. Open to all ages.

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Regional bike trail discussion

What: Discussion of bike trail and impact on existing nature trail. Presentation on Adopt-A-Creek Program.

When: 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14

Where: Cool River Pizza, 1805 Cirby Way in Roseville

Info: Open to the public. For more information, contact Donna Wilson at

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The heavy floods that washed through Roseville in 1995 set in motion a series of impacts that continue to affect local creeks, their greenbelts and surrounding neighborhoods today.

Hundreds of oak trees fell during the floods leading to erosion of creek banks, which threatens nearby houses. Meanwhile, invasive plants and grasses have taken over banks. And silt has also contributed to erosion and instability.

But for Roseville’s Linda Creek, all that turmoil faces a worthy foe: A group of residents who treasure their local creek and surrounding greenbelt. They show their concern by participating in restoration efforts, most recently with a second-annual volunteer workday in mid-October.

Friends of Linda Creek formed in 2009 dedicated to the preservation, conservation and restoration of the area. They also host educational nature walks and bird tours. The group partners with the city of Roseville through the Adopt-A-Creek program.

“In these times, it’s about the community stepping up,” said Donna Wilson, Meadow Oaks Neighborhood Association open space coordinator.

But the area continues to face threats, including continued bank erosion and a regional bike path that may wipe out the greenbelt’s unpaved walking trail and disturb wildlife habitat. For Wilson, these threats represent the side-effects of increased urbanization.

Bioengineering about ‘restoring’

Linda Creek’s open space area encompasses parts of three neighborhoods: Meadow Oaks, Maidu and Sierra Gardens. During the October workday, some 30 volunteers assisted with restoring a 150-foot portion of bank along the creek.

Linda Creek starts in Sacramento County at Folsom Lake, goes through Granite Bay, under the Old Spaghetti Factory and merges with Dry Creek. Salmon run in this creek and Maidu lived alongside this waterway for 10,000 years, Wilson said. The area boasts raccoons, wild turkeys, skunks, frogs, river otters and more.

Over the years, the bank that butts up to Wilson’s house in the Meadow Oaks Neighborhood had eroded several feet, threatening public property. Last year, Friends of Linda Creek came together with the help of Scott Dietrich — an environmental engineer and the city’s Adopt-a-Creek coordinator — to launch Roseville’s first bioengineering project.

They made a retaining wall using willow, a native plant cut down at Maidu Park. This eco-friendly technology uses native, live plants and trees to restore the bank’s stability and provide native habitat for wildlife. Bioengineering hasn’t been used much in Placer County or the greater Sacramento area.

“This was the first time we really tried it on a big-scale project,” Dietrich said. “(Bioengineering) is about restoring, not just putting rocks down. It has an environmental goal behind it. It’s a paradigm shift in the way we treat our creeks and look at public works projects from more of an environmental and engineering standpoint.”

A bioengineering approach is less expensive than conventional methods, he said, plus it incorporates participation of community members who then feel more invested in protecting the natural environment.

Opponents say bike trail a threat

But the Friends of Linda Creek have cause for concern, particularly over plans for a regional bike trail that would cut right through the greenbelt. The Dry Creek Greenway Trail project is a proposed Class I (paved) multi-use trail along Dry, Cirby and Linda creeks that would span about 4.25 miles, according to Mike Dour, the city’s alternative transportation manager.

According to the city: “This project is identified as high priority in the Roseville Bicycle Master Plan because of its potential benefits to the community. The project would provide a safe, comfortable, convenient and highly connected bike route as an alternative to using city streets in an area of (Roseville) that doesn’t have comparable bicycle facilities.”

The trail is part of a series of existing and planned trails that will form a loop around the greater Sacramento area and connect to the American River Parkway.

But the bike trail would replace the dirt walking trail that currently exists, said Wilson, who acts as her neighborhood association’s representative on the city’s stakeholder group for this project.

Her association supports a regional bike trail connection, but wants the city to pave a short distance away from the walking path — creating two separate trails.

Wilson said the walking trail is used by hundreds of children as the open space is adjacent to two schools. The path is also used for educational nature walks. But conflicts occur when bicyclists, who are trying to get from one point to another, interact with walkers who move more slowly.

“Fatalities aren’t the big thing that happens,” Wilson said. “It’s the near-misses that scare the walkers. There’s a term being used now — trail rage.”

The city hired Roseville-based engineering firm Psomas to conduct a feasibility analysis, preliminary engineering and environmental review on the project.

“The city understands their desire to maintain the unpaved path, and we are currently exploring project alternatives to do so,” Dour said.