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A Portable Pump Track?

Dear Jane,

I had to go all the way to Struve Slough in Watsonville to find a WILSON’S SNIPE – the visiting sandpiper of my recent dreams. I’ve been looking for the one that Gary Kittleson reported on our River for more than a month – but with no luck.

Wilson’s Snipe

I’ll keep looking.  Such a handsome sandpiper is worth looking for.  But perhaps he’s already winging further south.

Doesn’t it seem to you like a Sisyphean Task to keep up with the latest recreational plans of public and private agencies. Some of these well-intended plans would almost certainly have a negative effect on our natural urban environment? We push the rock up the hill and down it comes again!  No sooner do we heave a sigh of relief that we have managed to at least slow down the river kayaking enthusiasts, when another recreational idea that threatens the natural environment of our river pops up over the horizon.

Portable Pump Track

The latest idea is a Portable Pump Track for the lower Benchland area behind the County Building.  A reference to this was buried in a report to the City Council during their Study Session on the Master Park plan.  I wrote Mauro Garcia in Parks and Recreation asking about this and he kindly sent me an e-mail telling me that the Department is already in the process of collaborating with the Rotary Club to install such a track.

I don’t know if the planned pump track will look like this one that I grabbed from Google Images. I’m hoping to find out more.  I wonder how much such a track costs.  One site said they start at $10,000.  Would they remove the track if floods threatened?   I’m not against kids on bikes! Far from it. I am a parent, I was a teacher, and I loved biking when I was a kid. But I can’t conceive of such a track in a sensitive riparian area (and flood plain!)  where birds feed, roost, and even breed.  This area would ideally be preserved as a protected wildlife area  and/or a  serene urban parkland.

As you have often pointed out, our City needs an environmental coordinator to catch these ideas early and evaluate them for their environmental effect.  Otherwise it becomes an unnecessary struggle between the people who want to protect the environment and the people who want more recreational opportunities for children and adults.  My hope would be that both needs could be met.

I hope our readers write Mr. Garcia and/or the Rotary Club and weigh in on this matter. Maybe we can still keep that area free of plastic bike tracks.  Readers can write Mr. Garcia at

Mr. Garcia in the same e-mail told me that the City is also thinking about a complete re-design of San Lorenzo Park, from Water St. to Branciforte Creek. That could be wonderful and it could be awful. I have already begun dreaming about my ideal park. What would your dream park look like, Jane?  Readers?  Read my next post for my ideas. I hope Parks and Recreation gets lots of community input on such a re-design before they start shoveling.




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