The Comanche Creek Greenway–a city-owned open space on the south end of Chico–will open to the public on July 22nd following intensive infrastructure improvements that will cap off four years of volunteer efforts led by Friends of Comanche Creek Greenway. Parking for the ceremony will be on the south end of the creek at the end of Otterson Drive. Although not part of Bidwell Park the Comanche Creek Greenway is a sizeable 26-acre environmental corridor which, in addition to providing habitat for various kinds of wildlife, has a great potential to serve as a scenic passageway for pedestrian and cycling traffic as well as a recreational area for nearby residents and workers. Realizing this potential, construction of a bicycle/pedestrian bridge, trails, bike paths, and picnics tables is underway, paid for with a $1.03 million grant secured last year with the requirement that all projects be completed by this July.
These improvements would have been unlikely to occur if not for the efforts of Friends of Comanche Creek Greenway. While budget cuts have caused the city to close gates in Upper Bidwell Park due to an inability to watch over and maintain the area, the consistent volunteer work sessions and pledges of $17,000 a year for the next three years by Friends of Comanche Creek Greenway convinced the city that the land can be opened to the public and still be managed and taken care of. The regular volunteer sessions led by Friends of Comanche Creek Greenway these past four years have undertaken a variety of tasks from cleaning up trash to reclaiming access to the creekside by clearing the impenetrable and invasive stands of Himalayan blackberry and milk thistle that occupied its creek banks.
The Greenway will officially open to the public on July 22nd during the ribbon cutting ceremony. Volunteer sessions will continue to be carried out and performed entirely by members of the public and you can join them the second Sunday and fourth Saturday of every month. These sessions, and volunteer work sessions in Bidwell Park and Chico’s other greenways can be viewed on our calendar or on the Park Division’s calendar. Several other groups hold volunteer sessions, including The Stream Team which does water quality monitoring and Chico Velo Trailworks which hosts trail maintenance work sessions. In addition to helping with volunteering, you can help Friends of Comanche Creek Greenway raise the $17,000 annual funds that they have pledged to the City via the North Valley Community Foundation.