Placer Supervisors approve Hidden Falls Regional Park Trails Expansion Reduced Project

Published on March 10, 2021

AUBURN, Calif. -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors on March 8 approved the Hidden Falls Regional Park Trails Expansion Reduced Project, which balances the demand for open space while addressing neighborhood concerns.

The project expands the Hidden Falls Park natural-surface, multi-use trail network onto approximately 2,765 additional acres (from 1,200 acres) of land owned by either the Placer Land Trust or Placer County, or where the county owns easements.

Approximately 30 miles of trails, including existing and proposed trails, within the expansion areas will be added to the 30 miles of existing trails within the current park boundary.

The Placer County Planning Commission recommended approval of the reduced project Jan. 28.

The addition of two new parking areas and another overflow lot within the existing Hidden Falls Park parking area were also approved, as well as other amenities such as bridges, overlooks, picnic benches and tables, restrooms, drinking fountains and equestrian amenities.

A larger version of the project was originally proposed but was amended based on community feedback to limit the impacts of the popular park on neighboring residences. Originally proposed parking spaces were scaled back by 60%. In addition, parking reservations will be used for the expanded parking areas on weekends, holidays and other peak days.

“I am very supportive of the downsized version of this project,” said District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt. “I think 50 to 100 years from now if we don’t take advantage of this opportunity to preserve this open space, people will regret it.”

While the county has a history of providing fuel load reductions at the park to reduce the risk of wildfire, the project includes new fuel break areas and perimeter clearing in addition to the existing 120 acres of shaded fuel breaks.

“This project is about finding balance and compromise,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “It is critically important that county staff will continue to meet with local property owners routinely and repeatedly throughout the development of the project to address their concerns.”

The reduced project also features a backcountry management area only accessible either by Placer Land Trust docent-led tours or through a backcountry access permit issued by the county.

Staying true to the county’s long-standing agricultural heritage, county staff are working to identify opportunities to allow cattle grazing within the existing Hidden Falls Park area, as many other Californian jurisdictions have successfully done.