New river park area aims to attract visitors, wildlife

New river park area aims to attract visitors, wildlife – Source Bakersfield.com

A train whistle sounded in the distance as Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall cut a thick blue ribbon Wednesday, signifying that the Uplands of Kern River Parkway is open to the public.

“Imagine it on a 60-degree day instead of a 110-degree day,” Hall joked to a small crowd of mostly city and county officials who stood under a canopy overlooking the Kern River.

While the Uplands park — which was funded with a $1.4 million state grant from Proposition 50, $314,000 from city Park Improvement fees and $275,000 from the city’s agricultural water fund — seemed more desolate than lush, officials were optimistic the park will come into its own….”

Some time in the beginning of June I started riding my bike to the Bakersfield bike trail.  I didn’t make it too far before heading home.  Around mid-June I took it to the next level and continued along the bike trail all the way to Manor and noticed these new seating areas.  Only one of them is different from the others, it has a telescope, none of the others have that.  They were all closed but they opened on June 22nd.

They are really nice aren’t they?  It’s too bad I can never use it.  Why you ask? Take a look at this:

No bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, in-line scooters or horses.  So, if I’m riding on the bike trail, I can’t pull over for a rest.  Or does that mean that I can’t “ride” the bike in there?  Do they have any rest stop police to make sure I don’t get to sit in there?  Uh no.  They don’t have anything saying so.

I’m not quite sure what this sign means.  Am I allowed to walk my bike along the wooden path in the dirt then prop it up on its bike stand then go sit down and rest?  Probably not because it’s apparently not intended as a rest stop but more as a bird watching area.

It says in that article from the city of Bakersfield that they want to encourage more animals to come:

“The whole purpose is that once the trees mature, it’ll draw some animals and birds to that area,” said Hoover, “birds and animals that people can watch and just observe.” She said kit foxes, beavers, egrets and blue herons, among other native species, will likely return to the area.

Is that really such a good idea to have more animals along the bike trail?  As it is there are a ton of squirrels in the parks over by Yokuts and Beach Park that run across the bike trail and get squished by bicycles.  There are tons of jack rabbits and lizards that get squished along the bike path just where these new parks are too.  I squished one lizard already (and I felt terrible, just terrible about it) and I’ve seen people who were in a group of like 10 bicycles that have squished a jack rabbit.

When you are riding your bike on the bike trail at such fast speeds, you can’t slow down or stop for an animal.  If one person starts to slow down or comes to a complete stop because of a rabbit or a fox or a beaver, the whole lot of the riders will crash and some could end up injured and in the hospital.

I don’t encourage more animals along the bike trail because that just encourages more accidents and dead animals.  If they are going to put in a fence to protect the animals then that is one thing but I don’t see that happening.  And they can’t stop people from riding their bikes on the “bike trail” because that’s what it was intended for.

What I wish they would have spent the money on is bathrooms.  There aren’t any bathrooms along the bike trail, couldn’t they have spent some of that money on porta-potties?  Or maybe perhaps building mens and women’s restrooms with those fancy new seating areas?

If you start out at Beach Park then you have a bathroom to go to.  If you ride your bike all the way down to China Grade Loop you will notice that there is not 1 bathroom.  I’m not saying I have to go to the bathroom too often but I mean seriously, I’m drinking 2 liters of water over 18 miles that I ride every day.  I haven’t had to go pee but there have been times that I had to go number 2 and it would’ve been nice if I had a bathroom to go to.  I try to go before I leave the house but it doesn’t always happen at 5:30am.

The new seating areas are nice and all but I just see them as a huge waste of money.  Also, I haven’t seen 1 person sitting in one of them.  I saw an old couple who I see walking every morning walk into one but I’m sure it was to look around and see what they have.  I can see this as being a fun thing if it weren’t so close to the bike trail.

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