The City of Folsom is proposing a River District Master Plan that includes development of the Lake Natoma shoreline and bluffs. Proposals that have been suggested thus far include an amphitheater on the bluffs, a boathouse, several more parking lots, water taxis, more fishing opportunities, etc.
Folsom's business and economic strategy is to monetize a California State Park; a regional, state and national treasure belonging to the region’s citizens and their heirs. The Lake Natoma shoreline is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and managed and operated by state parks. The Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, of which Lake Natoma is a part, has always been preserved and protected as an extension of the American River Parkway. Lake Natoma and her lands are governed by the American River Parkway Plan and the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area Plan. These multi-million dollar master plans represent many years of public input and a consensus vision.
Folsom City Council met on August 28, 2018 and while it did not take up the request to remove public lands from a proposed study, a General Plan policy regarding a River District Master Plan study was revised to read:
GP River District Master Plan Policy L.U.5.1.2
Consider the preparation of a River District Master Plan for Folsom's riverfront area, that is based on widespread community engagement as well as coordination with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Parks and Recreation,, and Sacramento County Regional Parks Department. (Emphasis added)
This policy revision clearly recognizes the importance of the American River Parkway, of which Lake Natoma and her lands are an integral part, to a regional, state and national community and their right to participate in any proposed changes to the already adopted Master Plans, the American River Parkway Plan 2010 and the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area Plan/Resources Management Plan. These Master Plans represent years of work involving thousands of hours of public meetings and hundreds of people.
To date, engagement with the "widespread community" is only represented by 3 public workshops this past April, June and August sponsored by the Folsom Community Partnership. While the workshops were well attended, they did not represent an outreach to the responsible Federal, State and County agencies to their constituencies. As the Folsom General Plan Policy states no consideration of a River District Master Plan should be considered by the Folsom City Council until the River District Master Plan Study proponents can clearly demonstrate "widespread community engagement," coordinating with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the California Department of Parks and Recreation and Sacramento County Regional Parks Department to inform their constituencies of a proposal to study a Folsom City River District Master Plan that includes public lands and invite their participation via comments and public meetings.
Right now the Folsom City Partnership is planning a date to get their proposed River District Master Plan Study before the Folsom City Council for a vote to approve the study. If the City Council is compliant with their revised Policy L.U.5.1.2 they should not consider its preparation until widespread community engagement can be demonstrated.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
SARA is asking that everyone concerned about the future of the American River Parkway contact the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Sacramento County of Regional Parks, Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost, and Representative Dr. Ami Bera (e-mail addresses are listed below).
Ask them to immediately notify their constituencies of the proposed plan for a River District Master Plan Study that includes public lands, and solicit comments as well as organize public meetings inviting the greater American River Parkway community to register their comments and concerns.
Additionally, please contact SARA if your neighborhood association, garden club, civic group, etc. would like a SARA representative to attend your meetings to work with you on engaging in the process of protecting and conserving our American River Parkway and the quality of life of those neighborhoods adjacent to Lake Natoma and her lands.
Folsom Sector Superintendent
Gold Fields District
Drew Lessard, Area Manager
Central California Area Office
Bureau of Reclamation
Sacramento County Supervisor - District 4
Dr. Ami Bera
U.S. House of Representatives
Deputy County Executive, Sacramento County
Deputy Director, Sacramento County Regional Parks
The Bureau of Reclamation must discharge their commitment, as the landowner of Lake Natoma, to protect its natural resources. They are a signatory to the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area and Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park General Plan/Resources Management Plan (GP/RMP). They have an executed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with California State Parks to manage and operate our region's premiere state park serving the recreational needs of people and protecting the plants and animals that call these wildlands home. Folsom's businessmen and developers cannot simply co-opt public lands but, instead, must work with California State Parks to support and promote the implementation of the GP/RMP and the updated American River Parkway Plan.