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To the editor:

We created Felton Covered Bridge Park through a participatory process in which the community’s vision was brought to fruition by county parks.

Now, reacting to Felton residents’ concerns about construction of a 10,000-square-foot concrete “pump track” for mountain bikes in the middle of the small park, Santa Cruz County Parks Director Jeff Gaffney says, “It’s not a popularity project.” What matters, in Gaffney’s view, is that “it went through the entire organization of the parks department and, really, that’s how you decide things when running the parks system.”

He also added that “public opinion should not weigh heavily on how the department operates,” and said county parks is forging ahead with the pump track in cahoots with Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship (which cleverly changed its name from Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, disguising its core mission).

This ill-conceived plan would place the paved track contiguous to San Lorenzo River, perennially flooded Felton Grove, and the busiest intersection in Felton.

County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, the Regional Transportation Commission, Caltrans, State Parks and Public Works are keenly aware that recreational impacts along Highway 9 between Felton and Santa Cruz are already problematic for pedestrian and cyclist safety. This project will make them worse — and wreck our park.

Mark Stephens