Fishing derby scheduled to continue despite concerns of some

Is derby destructive to Meadow Vista Park ecosystem?
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The show will go on for a fishing derby in Meadow Vista Park, despite the concerns of some residents that the derby destroys the park’s ecosystem. Proponents on both sides of the issue attended the Auburn Recreation District board meeting last Thursday to express their opinions. Some say the fishing derby — a fundraiser for the Meadow Vista Community Center — gives people a chance to try a new sport and enjoy the park. Others say despite some of the precautions that were taken, geese, turtles and the pond were harmed at last year’s derby. “Those who have concerns have a legitimate point of view, but it has been taken seriously by the board. It’s been taken seriously by fish and game,” said Jim Ferris, Auburn Recreation District Board Director. “I seriously feel that any disturbance to wildlife will be kept to a minimum this year.” Despite the objections, the board approved a permit giving the event a green light. Randall Hensley, a local chiropractor, said he supports the fishing derby and hopes the impact on the environment will be minimal. “Events such as this build community spirit between neighbors of all generations. It provides a great opportunity for children to try fishing, perhaps for the very first time,” Hensley said. “The ideal goal would be to have a fishing derby with absolutely no impact on the animals at the park. Unfortunately, this ‘perfect world scenario’ is impossible.” Hensley added that since the park is man made and the domestic geese rely on humans feeding them, people should be able to enjoy the pond by fishing in it. Heather Ireland, of Meadow Vista, said last year’s derby destroyed many parts of the park. Last year, Ireland volunteered along with Gold Country Animal Rescue and the Sacramento Turtle and Tortoise Rescue to care for wildlife at the derby. “We feel that this park is not appropriate for surrounding that small pond with hundreds of kids. There is just no place for the kids and animals to coexist during that day,” Ireland said. “It doesn’t matter how many people they bring to cleanup the destruction that was caused by last year’s event. To this day the park has not returned to its previous glory.” Ireland said she is not asking for fishing derbies to be eliminated in the parks and recreation district altogether, but only for them to end at Meadow Vista Park. “The park was my greatest pleasure after I moved here,” Ireland said. “I would call them the extremists for not even allowing one single park with a pond in it now for the people who just want to enjoy the park without having to witness the destruction of the park.” Sheila Steinberg, of Meadow Vista, said when the Meadow Vista Community Center is complete she wants the pond to continue to be enjoyable. “The reason for keeping the pond alive is so people can enjoy it. I would imagine whoever is in charge of renting that is going to want to have a nice, lovely pond in the park,” Steinberg said. “Everything is all part of a whole ecosystem — without one thing you won’t get the other. Just having a dead pond sitting there is not attractive.” Hensley said that since the fishing derby is still planned for May, the issue should be resolved through compromise. “As for solutions to the problems and finding reasonable compromise, I hope the lessons from last year can be reviewed with a rational perspective of both sides,” Hensley said. “If the public sees any unlawful activity or excessive fish being poached after the event, report them to the Department of Fish and Game. No one wants the few disrespectful idiots to tarnish the image of fishing or this great event. If we see trash or lines on the ground, pick it up. There are reasonable solutions and compromises to everyone's worries.” Reach Sara Seyydin at