Things are beginning to really take shape for the Golden Hills Nature Park.
The Lands Committee of the Golden Hills Community Services District is solidifying both short- and long-term goals for the new park, which formerly was the old golf course. Directors Marilyn White and David Shaw, members of the committee, discussed some of those goals at a Jan. 12 meeting.
“We're almost finished doing the financial budget with General Manager Bill Fisher,” White said. “It's about 80 percent complete. We should have it ready to present at the next regular board meeting (on Jan. 19).”
White has been working with the committee on the Nature Park for almost two years. Shaw just joined the group with his election in November. He was eager to jump right in. Trail mapping is one of the goals for the coming year and the regular board has hired Provost & Pritchard to do that.
“Among the things I'd like to see is doing some videos to show people just where the trails are and what they look like,” Shaw said. “I've done some on my phone but we'll need to figure out a cost for others to view on their phones or the web.”
White said they also are looking into the cost of more signage around the park.
“The ones we have so far have been donated and look really nice,” she said. “We'd like to mark the trails with sign posts that give the name of that particular trail and to what other trails it might lead.”
The Nature Park does not allow motor vehicles, but keeping some off-roaders out is an ongoing problem.
“We're looking at different barriers where walkers, those with horse and carts can get through, but not the motorized vehicles,” White said.
She said GM Fisher is pricing “bollards,” which are dome-shaped pillars over steel posts to use as a deterrent. White also said they might be eligible for grant money for those barriers.
Keeping the Nature Park as “natural” as possible is another goal.
“We'll be monitoring in the coming year where to mow and not mow,” said Fisher. “The trails will be kept clear but we might only do other areas a few times a year.”
White said this is important to those visiting the park, so in the more natural areas they might be able to do some birding, or see wildlife such as deer and coyotes. She also noted the new mapping will help determine where staff is working and hours worked.
Another goal is to set up rules and regulations for policing the park.
“We don't want to reinvent the wheel, so I found what some other parks are using for their ordinances,” White said. “It will give us a template.”
Shaw also said he would contact the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District to see how it enforces its rules.
With all the recent rains, the streams and creeks in and around the Nature Park and other Golden Hills CSD lands have been impacted. Fisher and White said the district and the Lands Committee will review how best to evaluate what needs to be done, and how to go about it.
“We just can't start cleaning ditches or changing the course of the waterways,” White said. “Other county agencies might be involved.”
Finally, Tom Sawyer Lake is a “beast with its own set of rules," White said.
“Tom Sawyer Lake is within the new park, but it has creeks and water from the waste water from the treatment plant flowing into it,” she said. “Some of those creeks have gone rogue, so this goes with figuring out water issues.”
Shaw said he felt they had a good start on future goals.
“We'll keep moving forward in our recommendations to the full board,” he said.
White also noted the Lands Committee will need new two community members to join the board. Newly elected board member Joe King had been one of those members as was Ryan Rush, who resigned for school and family obligations.
“We'll also bring that up at the next regular meeting,” she said.