Friday, December 15, 2006

Solano Supervisors approve 1,039 acre Lynch Canyon agreement

December 13, 2006

Supervisors approve Lynch Canyon agreement

By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Come late spring, people should be able to enjoy 1,039-acre Lynch Canyon and its miles of trails without waiting for a docent-led event.

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to enter into an agreement with the Solano Land Trust, which owns the open space land. The county plans to manage the land as part of the county parks system for three years at a total cost of about $750,000.

If all goes as expected, the county will hire rangers and open the property to the public from Wednesday through Sunday.

Lynch Canyon is in the hills between Fairfield and Vallejo, near Interstate 80. The non-profit Solano Land Trust bought the land in phases during the 1990s using grants that required the park be open for recreation uses.

The board approved the agreement by a 3-1 vote. Supervisors John Silva, John Vasquez and Barbara Kondylis voted "yes" and Supervisor Mike Reagan voted "no." Supervisor Duane Kromm abstained because his wife, Fairfield City Councilwoman Marilyn Farley, is executive director of the Land Trust.

Reagan voiced a number of criticisms, such as a lack of a business plan or clear objectives on how many people using the park constitutes success. He objected to using taxpayers' money to help the Land Trust meet its public access obligations.

But Kondylis saw a downside to viewing all parks as business propositions, saying that the result is something like a Disneyland.

Cordelia Fire District Chief Jay Huyssoon expressed concern how his financially strapped, volunteer department can serve a Lynch Canyon park. The district doesn't have a helicopter or the type of vehicles needed to reach injured park users on distant trails, he said.

Huyssoon asked supervisors to delay the vote until after a meeting scheduled today between fire and county officials.

"I'd like to have the county give us some sort of definitive answer on whether Cordelia is going to be compensated," Huyssoon said.

Silva saw no need to delay the vote. Lynch Canyon is part of the Cordelia district and the county expects the fire district to support the county's endeavors, he said.

The Land Trust also owns about 3,900 additional acres in the hills between Fairfield and Vallejo. Whatever future agreements the county and Land Trust may strike will hinge on how the three-year Lynch Canyon agreement turns out.

"It's our test case, to see what happens, to see how it works," Silva said.

The county will also get a seat on the Land Trust board. Supervisors appointed Vasquez as their representative.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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