The City of Folsom has decided to proceed with plans to redevelop a portion of the waterfront near the historic district – a move which could impact trail access for cyclists. The proposed improvements, which will cost almost $1 million, would provide a 2,400-foot walkway joining the popular shopping areas south of Lake Natoma with the edge of the water. New boat launch facilities are also planned for the lake.
It is unclear how the proposed development could impact cyclists on the trail, but current plans involve the construction of a pedestrian walkway from Gold Lake Drive, adjacent to Lake Natoma Inn, directly down to the waterfront. Such a walkway would interrupt the bike trail as it currently exists, although cyclists are generally forced to exit the trail at this point in order to continue up to Beal’s Point, or cross the lake at Lake Natoma Crossing.
The improvements have drawn widespread support from local businesses, but environmental protection and trail advocate Stephen Green of the Save the American River Association has condemned the proposal, “The project would be totally incompatible with the existing natural area”, he wrote, in a letter addressed to the City of Folsom last November. Green’s concerns are important to note for cyclists, since the existing trail – which enjoys steady use throughout the year – has been sensitive to surrounding riparian habitats. Green has vowed to fight the proposed redevelopment in court if necessary.