Some good news. Placer County's plan to build a broad multi-use trail up the North Fork canyon (the "North Fork American River Trail," acronym, NFART) from The Confluence to Ponderosa Bridge has been abandoned, as of Tuesday, May 10. The following item was on Tuesday's BOS agenda, and was passed without discussion:
b. North Fork Trail--Vacate the Board's action taken on August 24, 2004 to approve the Initial Study, Mitigated Negative Declaration and Environmental Assessment for the North Fork American River Trail Project; rescind the California Environmental Quality Act Notice of Determination filed August 24, 2004; and vacate the Board's August 24, 2004 adoption of the North Fork American River Trial Plan.
The typo at the end, "Trial" instead of "Trail," was a happy accident, since it was the lawsuit brought against Placer County which forced this decision.
It came as a surprise to those who brought the lawsuit, notably, Michael Garabedian, Bill Newsom, and Catherine O'Riley. The mandatory settlements talks with County Counsel, required before actual litigation begins, had yielded nothing; the County seemed determined not to compromise at all. Hence it only remained to go to trial.
I hear that the BOS was a bit burned up over their recent loss on another environmental lawsuit, involving plans for massive residential developments up in the Martis Valley, near Truckee. Apparently they thought, "Here's another lawsuit, possibly costing the County yet another ton of money."
The North Fork Trail project could be revived; for now, it is dead.
Many thanks to Garabedian, Newsom, and O'Riley!