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.
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
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.