Friends of Bidwell Park

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Friends of Bidwell Park are celebrating a decade of advocacy and volunteer work!

Friends of Bidwell Park would like to thank all people who have helped us help the park. Your time, ideas, donations, and ongoing support have been incredible and our success is because of the many friends we have made over the last ten years. Thanks to you, we have been able to contribute over 15,000 hours of in-park volunteer work! Our work was also instrumental in the update of the Bidwell Park Master Management, and we continue to help the City of Chico with their ongoing vegetation management program. We are extremely proud of all we accomplished together. We will continue to advocate for the conservation and sustainable use of Bidwell Park.


Abundant Homeless Camps Degrade Bidwell Park and Chico's Greenways

The explosion of homeless camps in Bidwell Park and other Chico greenways (Lindo Channel, Little Chico Creek and Comanche Creek) are causing significant problems for riparian areas as well as threatening public safety. Inhabitants of these camps are polluting waterways by bathing, washing clothes and defecating in and near the creeks. They remove and damage native trees and vegetation used by wildlife and they damage the creek banks thus increasing the risk of erosion. The abundance of trash is not only unsightly; it is also polluting waterways that flow to the Sacramento River and eventually to the ocean. In addition to this outright habitat degradation, more park users are reporting that they have been panhandled, harassed and threatened by some of the homeless people and they are becoming more fearful of using the park and other public greenways for recreation and relaxation. For public safety reasons, the City of Chico now recommends people avoid areas that may have homeless camps.

photo of debris along Little Chico Creek Homeless camp along Little Chico Creek

The community of Chico needs to do more to address the increase of homeless people and the resulting impacts on our public resources. America's homeless problem has many causes and public servants and the citizens need to work together to enhance viable solutions. We need to provide compassionate services and opportunities to help people in need find mental health care, jobs and a place to live. We also need to find immediate solutions to limit the number and size of homeless camps and reduce the harmful impacts to our parks and riparian areas.

An important key to limiting the number and scope of these homeless camps is to remove them as soon as they become apparent. To report illegal camping in Chico's greenways please call Code Enforcement at (530) 879-6330.

To learn more about the Clean and Safe Chico public outreach campaign and groups helping the homeless in downtown Chico click here. To refer homeless people to organizations that provide shelter, meals and other services visit http://www.chico.ca.us/housing_neighborhood_services/documents/HomelessSheltersandServices.pdf

Upcoming City meetings regarding homeless people in Chico

Oct 22, 6:30-8:30, City Council Chambers, forum to discuss homeless situation.

Nov 6, 3:30 pm, probably Old Municipal Building, quarterly city/county meeting, homeless camping impacts will be one of the agenda items.


FOBP Begins Work on Managing Invasive Catalpa Trees in Bidwell Park

photo of Catalpa tree

Although beautiful and majestic, the non-native Catalpa trees are becoming a serious threat to California's riparian areas.

We are conducting a park wide survey to determine the extent of this invasive species and we are working with California State Parks to research possible control methods.


FOBP Adopts Lost Park

photo of Lost Park

We have recently adopted Lost Park as an official focus area and we are beginning to work with park staff and the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission to develop a short and long term management plan to address invasive plant management, riparian restoration and deterring homeless encampments.

We are holding semimonthly work sessions to remove trash and invasive plants. These sessions are held on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month at run from 9am to 12pm. See our calendar to learn more about FOBP and the Park's Division volunteer opportunities.


photo of closed gate Photo by Karen Laslo

Locked Gate?

a photo essay by Karen Laslo about the effects of park staff and budget cuts can be seen on her photo blog "A Picture's Worth".


Bidwell Park staff have announced that budget cuts and staff reductions will reduce services and hours that park gates and other facilities will be open. Generally, park gates, restrooms, and Caper Acres will be closed Monday through Thursday. The park will remain open to non-vehicular traffic.

Details can be found in a city press release [pdf].


The Summer 2013 editon of the City's park newsletter, the Bidwell Park Pulse, is now online.


Susan Mason Receives Park Division 2013 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award!

photo of Susan Mason

Susan Mason, Friends of Bidwell Park co-founder and current Invasive-Plant Chair person for FOBP and Mt. Lassen Chapter of California Native Plant Society (CNPS), has received the City of Chico Park Division's 2013 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award!

This prestigious award was given in recognition of, and appreciation for Susan's outstanding volunteer services and countless hours generously donated to the community in Chico's Bidwell Park and Greenways. Thanks to Susan, several highly-invasive species, including Bladder Senna, Tree-of- heaven, Privet and European Olive have lost their foothold in significant portions of Chico's public landscapes.

On behalf of Friends of Bidwell Park, THANK YOU Susan for your leadership, all of your energy and your many thousands of hours of important work in Bidwell Park and Chico's Greenways! Susan's 10 years of contributions to our community are exemplary and inspirational.


2012 Annual Park Division Report

The latest annual staff report [pdf] presents facts and figures on the state of Bidwell Park.


Friends of Bidwell Park Proudly Presents the First Ever Vascular Plant List for Bidwell Park!

photo of Toxicoscordion fremontii Toxicoscordion fremontii
Fremont's Zigadene

A compilation of efforts has resulted in this preliminary vascular plant list which currently accounts for 942 taxa! Although the plant inventory project is still a couple of years from being completed, we were eager to share the wealth of information we have gathered about Bidwell Park's plant species with the general public.

Recently we began collaborating with Friends of the Chico State Herbarium and the Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society to conduct more-formal surveys on the 4 major park sub-regions (Lower Park, Middle Park, North Upper Park and South Upper Park). This year we are focusing on the different vegetation management areas in Lower Park. We will be revising the list on the website after completing our surveys for the 2012 field season.

We hope people use this list to learn more about the amazing plant diversity found in Bidwell Park. We also hope observant park users can help us make corrections and add new locations for species as they enjoy their explorations.

Keep watching the FOBP website as we will be providing more interesting details about the plants of Bidwell Park throughout the summer!

Learn more about the Bidwell Park plant inventory project.

View the Bidwell Park preliminary plant list.


See our Bidwell Park Invasive Plants presentation [pdf] as shown at two recent Park Division team leader training sessions.


Bicycle icon

A new version of our printable (pdf) poster with information on how to identify and control puncturevine is on our page about puncturevine. With its sharp, thorny burs that pierce tires, paws, and shoes, puncturevine is the leading cause of bicycle flat tires.


photo of puncture-vine Puncturevine

The dreaded puncturevine (aka goathead) season is here. Be part of the solution, not the problem!


Bidwell Park Aerial panorama

Four sets of aerial photos of the park made by Chico Photographer Bruce King are part of our continuing effort to document the park from the air. Each set has hundreds of photos and are available online:


How to contact your City Councilors and Park Commissioners

See our Reasons to Keep Upper Park Wild

FOBP on-site volunteer hours to-date:


16,289 hours of work contributed to volunteer projects in the park.

See our Events Calendar for upcoming park events and volunteer opportunities.



Friends of Bidwell Park Appreciates Your Support!

We would like to thank everyone who sent us a donation through the Annie B's Community Drive. Your generous contributions will help support our ongoing work to control invasive plant species in Bidwell Park as well as our efforts to help supplement the City of Chico's volunteer program.


Featured Artist

Paula Busch — "Avian Stew" is now showing at the Chico Creek Nature Center.


"Quell" by Paula Busch 'Quell' by Paula Busch

These are my bird friends. They come to my Northern California yard or they fly high above it (Speculation). They eat at my feeders (Consideration and Contemplation) or sit at my window sill (Jaunty) demanding peanuts. These avians are companions while I work in the studio. I did not want to make images that were sentimental, cute or illustrative but rather ones that would capture the birds with an emotion usually attached to people. I have also taken much liberty with the color, pattern, and designs of their plumage. An ornithologist would be taken aback.

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."
— Aesop

About the artist:

Paula has been creating art for over 40 years and has exhibited throughout California.

After receiving an art degree at the University of California at Berkeley, Paula completed a Master of Arts degree in Printmaking at CSU, Chico. She continues to live in Chico, teaches art at Butte Community College and works in her studio. She is enthusiastically involved with the activities of the large network of local artists.

Most recently, Paula has been working in the ancient medium of encaustic painting. "My primary focus was printmaking. I have been working in Encaustics for the past several years. The wax has pushed me to expand my visual language as it permits me to carve, embed, inlay, transfer and scratch into its surface. It allows for more depth than printmaking does because it lets me fuse layers of wax into a variety of textures and transparencies. I use a heat gun to do this. The Greek word Encaustic means "to burn in". Incorporating bee's wax from the Farmer's market and mixing it with Damar resin I create my base. Also used are blocks of heavily pigmented wax and colored oil sticks. The medium is very permanent and is a treat to the sense of smell. While the imagery is diverse, references are frequently made to plant life and animal forms.

See more at the Paula Busch website.


Bidwell Park Master Management Plan (BPMMP)

The current BPMMP, adopted in June 2008, has many goals and objectives for the park.

O.IP-1. — Control or eliminate undesirable invasive plants that compete with or reduce native vegetation or degrade wildlife habitat.

This BPMMP objective is carried out by the city's volunteer coordinator, Lise Smith-Peters, who organizes numerous volunteer projects. These include restoration of an area north of Caper Acres, ongoing invasives removal projects at One Mile, Cedar Grove, Annie's Glen, and Five Mile, species-focused eradication efforts, and vegetation management projects at picnic sites adopted by volunteers.

FOBP have spent thousands of hours removing privet trees and other invasive species from Bidwell Park, with more than 900 public volunteer work sessions offered to date. Upcoming sessions can be viewed on our calendar.

Friends of Bidwell Park is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are now tax-deductible!

Please send donations to: Friends of Bidwell Park, PO Box 4837, Chico CA 95927

If you prefer, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to us online through the philanthropic organization JustGive.org by clicking on the button below.

Online donation link

Your help will be sincerely appreciated and go towards our current projects.



Bidwell Park is a large municipal park in Chico, California

The mission of Friends of Bidwell Park is to raise awareness, encourage learning, and facilitate personal and community involvement in the conservation and sustainable use of Bidwell Park.


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by: Friends of Bidwell Park