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Residents sound off over land acquisition

Concerns over public access, parking highlight BLM’s takeover of land near Rescue
By: Penne Usher Telegraph Correspondent
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CAMERON PARK — Public access and a parking lot are the current concerns of those who live near the 700 acres of land near the town of Rescue that was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management. Town meetings, like the one held May 5 at the Cameron Park Community Service District Office, are scheduled for June and July to allow the public to provide input on the use of the Kanaka Valley area. Becky Wolk, of El Dorado, said she uses many of the equestrian trails in the county and wants to ensure that she has access to Kanaka Valley. “I’d like to see (the proposed parking area) allow for oversized vehicles,” Wolk said. “Not just for parking, but a place we can turn around. There wouldn’t have to be a lot of spaces, because — based on the remote location — I don’t anticipate a lot of equestrian use.” More than a year ago, BLM added 695 acres of habitat for rare plants and other wildland species in western El Dorado County near the town of Rescue. A management plan is being developed through a series of local public meetings. “Community participation, especially from a variety of viewpoints, is central in this effort to seek solutions that optimize protection and use of the public lands,” said Lauren Fety, biological science technician for the BLM. “The meetings will cover many topics,” Fety said. “As a group, we’ll discuss and brainstorm a range of items from facilities to non-native weed management strategies.” Doug Lashmett lives in Rescue and about a mile down Kanaka Valley Road. He voiced concern about the traffic that would be accessing the public lands through the narrow roadway. “It’s a very narrow road with blind turns for more than a mile,” Lashmett said. “It’s only about 20 feet across at best.” At last week’s meeting the few in attendance, which is reportedly unusual, broke into small groups to brainstorm solutions to the proposed small parking area, access and the number of public restrooms that would possibly be placed on the parcel. The Kanaka Valley land acquisition provides 343 acres of blue oak woodland, valley oak woodland, blue oak foothill pine, and montane hardwood, as well as 100 acres of riparian habitat along Jill’s Creek and Crocker Creek, both of which flow into Folsom Reservoir and support native fish populations. The next meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. June 2 at the Cameron Park Community Center.