|State Parks Commission approves flawed Nisene Marks plan
Citizens group files lawsuit
Following a public hearing in San Jose on August 22, the State Park and Recreation Commission unanimously approved
the Preliminary General Plan for the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. On September 18 the the Citizens for the
Preservation of The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park filed suit against the California Department of Parks and
Recreation and the State Park and Recreation Commission. The suit is based on failure of State Parks to comply with
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), lack of impacts analysis in regard to trail planning, inadequate
mitigations for the illegal use of mountain bikes, violation of the Public Resources Code, and violation of the
terms of the Grant Deed from the Marks family.
||Illegal bike trails erode soil in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.
The Commission’s approval of the Preliminary General Plan gave State Parks the green light to move forward with
their proposal to include mountain bikes on trails in areas of the Park that were previously off-limits to bikes.
Written comments to State Parks regarding the General Plan numbered more than two to one against expanding the use
of mountain bikes to trails in the deeded portion of the Park. All trail plans and development within the Park,
however, must meet CEQA guidelines. Environmental concerns regarding impacts of development on water quality and
special status species like coho and steelhead; trails on steep erosion-prone slopes; and protection of sensitive
and endangered species are addressed by CEQA.
During the public comment portion of the hearing, the only testimony that prompted staff discussion was that of a
spokesperson from the Audubon Society who asked staff if inventory studies could be completed before initiating a
trail plan. State Parks staff discussed the request but the Commission stopped short of adding a requirement which
would require State Parks to conduct inventory studies before proceeding with trail plans. The Sierra Club has
repeatedly asked State Parks to conduct inventory studies before beginning any development within the Park.
How to help
Contact Kirk Lingenfelter of State Parks at KLINGENFELTER@parks. ca.gov or (831) 429-2859 and ask him to implement a
comprehensive biological inventory study for the purpose of protecting threatened and endangered species and
sensitive habitats identified in the inventory. Remind State Parks that the Marks family donated Nisene Marks Park
to the State with the stipulation that it remain a “natural preserve” and “that the property shall be held in its
natural state . . . limited to camping, nature study, hiking and associated activities.”
For more information or to donate to the lawsuit call Sandy Henn, 662-2843.
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