Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trails are not income producers

November 2, 2010 | 8 Comments

EDITOR: I see the trails group is again misleading the residents and businesses of El Dorado County.

A quote from the trails group: “Trails boost the economy! The American River Parkway reports $360 million in economic benefits.”

From the American River Parkway (ARP): The American River Parkway generates and estimated $364,218,973 annually for the local Sacramento economy (American River Parkway: Financial Needs Study Update, the Dangermond Group, 2006)
The study is what the ARP uses to make the claim of $360 million in revenue generation. This same report breaks down which type of ARP users make up that claim and how much dollar value they are worth. The trail users are one of the lowest per person contributor on the list of ARP users and the largest area of cost to maintain. The ARP has other venues such as fishing, swimming, & boating, to name a few, that make up the rest of that reported $360 million of which the El Dorado Trail Corridor cannot match.

The ARP maintenance budget is $2.3 million in fiscal year 2009-10. This funds the maintenance staff that cleans restrooms, maintains the trails, picks up litter and empty garbage cans, responds to dumping and vandalism, makes repairs to fencing, provides fire breaks, and other tasks that protect the parkway, its visitors and resources. This budget also funds all utility costs, toilet paper, garbage can liners, mowers, tractors and power tools, etc. all per ARP’s Website information.

This same study shows that operation of the ARP is still a negative cost to the county and requires “augmentation” of funds going out 10 years, per the study. This study recommends assessments to the residents and districts or all costs will be ultimately borne by the general fund.

Also from the ARP information Website, “What about potential increased litigation costs for those who get injured on the Parkway with less maintenance? Answer: The County is self-insured, and Regional Parks pays into this self insurance fund. Any increase in claims will be factored into future charges for the department.”

The trail group would not be taking this misinformation path to secure bike trails only if it weren’t from some self-imposed thought that rail use will eliminate the use of a bike trail along the corridor. The rail proponents have no problem with a bike trail along side of the rail. The rail use is not going to cost El Dorado County any funds, none, zero. The rail use will end up saving money on the maintenance, fire breaks, and security for both El Dorado County and other trail users as it has been for the past ten years through the railroad volunteers.

I do wish to see a trail alongside the rail. I do wish to see a rail use of the corridor. I don’t like misinformation tactics used when both the bike trail and the rail use would complement each other and would eventually keep maintenance costs of the bike trail lower to the residents and businesses of El Dorado County with having a full rail use.

Pollock Pines

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 8 comments

  • Mike KenisonNovember 02, 2010 - 9:33 pm

    That is a big spin Marty. Revenue generated from trail use is $20 Million per year. Economic Benefits are more. Maintenance is 2.3 million for the trail, parks and open space and that has to be delt with in tough economic times. Marty, would you invest 2.3 million to generate $20 million in spending? Better yet how about 163 million? Let me answer for you Marty. Yes, and so would the supervisors. Give me your numbers Marty?

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  • Greenwood BillNovember 06, 2010 - 11:07 am

    Can't read Mike? "American River Parkway: Financial Needs Study Update, the Dangermond Group, 2006". Also, find me a trail outside of a major metro area that comes even close to paying for itself. You blather on about numbers, bring some.

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  • Greenwood BillNovember 06, 2010 - 11:19 am

    Also, please produce the report that shows exactly how many visitors actually use the ARP (not a government guestimate) and of those, how many are from out of the area, and what they actually spend. There is no such report. Only estimates and unsubstantiated claims. The local evening jogger does not generate income to the local economy, they just transfer funds (if any) from one part of the economy to another. The only number that counts is outside money spent locally.

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  • Philip RoseNovember 06, 2010 - 9:45 pm

    Mr Kenison is of course making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. There is little logic behind his plans - the passion seems to be focused totally on removing the rails, but for what? The concept of trails over abandoned rail lines is often a great and relatively cheap option to preserve a corridor. Not here, when we have millions of $ worth of railroad being increasingly used by rail groups with plans for more. Taking the rails up when the railroad is not abandoned, when transport integration is recognized as the way forward and, Western El Dorado County receives so few visitors with so much to offer is, in my view a quite bizarre point of view.

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  • Sue TaylorNovember 07, 2010 - 1:42 am

    Mike what is your agenda? It is sad that for your own selfish reasons you are so bent on crushing everyone elses dreams. The excursion train could bring an economic benefit to so many businesses along the train line. You asked for help to work together yet in every breath you can't wait to rip out the train tracks. I hope that on Monday, the 8th at 1:00 p.m, the Board of Supervisors turn down the resolution coming before them to FOREVER exclude the rights of the railway train on the remainer of the existing line.

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  • John GaronNovember 07, 2010 - 3:42 pm

    The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence mentions "certain inalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". Nowhere does it caveat these rights with the sentence ''only if they're cost-effective' Must everything in life be reduced to dollars and cents? Must everything we do have a mercenary goal? What price can anyone put on a walk through the woods, watching autumn leaves turn, seeing animals in their own habitat and listening to birds singing? Is the Mona Lisa's only value the sum total of its canvas, paint and wood frame? What is the purpose of the costly space program? It seems to me that one's ability exercise and commune with nature fall under the "pursuit of happiness" writ large. By its very existence, the trail adds a very large, permanent plus-value to the adjacent lands; it is a big attraction for people who wish to live near a recreation area. This is not primarily a dollars-and-cents issue, it is a quality of life issue well worth more than $2 millon.

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  • M. BrutoNovember 07, 2010 - 5:58 pm

    Wow! Mike that is quite the Hippocratic statement made by you, the king of spin. Every time I’m in the same room as the trails group I must use Dramamine to keep from getting motion sickness from the spin your group puts off. The Friends of the El Dorado trail is going to ask the El Dorado board of supervisors for priority of the corridor on Monday November 8th, this is their latest ploy to try and scrap the historic rail line in exchange for a slipshod gravel trail. They continue to wax poetic over all the enormous benefits the county will derive from this, especially the millions in financial gain. Great news for the county to know that all our economic problems will soon be behind use, in fact, the supervisors might want to forgo all the planned budgets cuts since the windfall will be so great that all of us will be able to retire and spend all our time on the “world class trail”. Now back to reality. The corridor was paid for by the taxpayers of the county, all of us, so no one group should be give any type of priority or favoritism over the use of it. The county has a very usable, historic rail line in place and two separate non-profit, volunteer groups currently working on rehabilitating the line for historic use. Both groups, one based in Placerville (an extension of the county museum) and the other based in Folsom have been working on restoring historic rail equipment and the rail to resurrect one of the oldest lines in California. All this at no cost to the county through donated and self raised funds and a volunteer workforce. Neither train group is asking for or basing future operation on any county funds, so there goes the “county cost factor” the trail group keeps claiming. Now on the other hand the trail, even if the rail is removed, will require county and federal grant money to improve and maintain it with unsubstantiated, “fuzzy” numbers on any, if any, actual monetary benefit to the county. Neither train group is asking for or even suggesting elimination of a trail, if fact, both groups welcome the mixed use of the corridor, as was intended when purchased. Maybe The friends of the El Dorado trail should show a little gratitude for the multi-million dollar grant that the El Dorado Western Railway initiated, almost all of which will be going to your trail development. There is plenty of room for both venues along the corridor and if the trails group wanted the could start their trail anytime they wish, instead of wasting everyone's time with juvenile control games.

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  • Fran DuchampOctober 09, 2013 - 9:12 pm

    memory lane....

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