Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area – Road 16 Access Threatened

This has been the hot topic here at Yolohiker. Wildlands, inc., a landowner out next to the State Wildlife Area, has been having problems with trespassing, vandalism, poaching, etc. So they are looking to abandon a portion of the public road, thus turning it private and (so the thinking goes) reducing their problems. I understand their problems, being a property manager myself, and deal with these issues daily.

Only problem is that if the public abandons Road 16, we will have no access to the Wildlife Area from the east. This will mean if you live in West Sacramento, you’ll have a lot further to drive to get to the other side. And those who want to fish in Tule Canal on the Wildlife Area will have to walk quite a ways to get there. We ought to be encouraging responsible public use of our lands, not closing them off.

I think the solution is for the landowner to put up ‘No Trespassing’ signs (didn’t see any out there), a fence along the road (right now it’s open onto their fields), gates on their farm roads (they are open to the road so anyone can drive on the private roads), and that the County should put in a real parking area/trailhead/formal entry area for the Wildlife Area at the end of Road 16. Then you’d make it an amenity; give better access to over a thousand acres of public open space (only 22 minutes from Davis and 11 minutes from Woodland)!

Closing the public out of the public land isn’t the option. And no, once the road is abandoned, you can’t just hike it. It becomes private and closed to everyone. This would mean no access from the east, north, and south. Why give up our eastern access, for no public benefit?

You can find a sample letter to protest the closing, at

Image of the Wildlife Area from the end of Road 16, looking west.

Also looking west.

Aerial view of the State Wildlife Area. Most folks don't know this part of Yolo County. I think that should change...