Paradise >> Summer is a particularly popular time for fishermen, swimmers and hikers to migrate to the West Branch of the Feather River, in search of cool snowmelt water for recreation.
While the river itself is public, getting to most of the swimming holes requires passing through property owned by PG&E. With thousands of people crossing the utility’s property knowingly or unknowingly each year, trespassing restrictions appear not to be enforced.
Last week, Roger and Helen Ekins, local outdoor enthusiasts and authors of the book “The Flumes and Trails of Paradise: Hiking through History on the Ridge,” received a letter from a PG&E safety manager in San Francisco requesting that they “discontinue the use of the elevated walkways in accordance with PG&E signage.”
Local PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno said that request falls in accordance with an effort throughout the entire service area to keep hikers away from work areas, for their own safety.
Ridge residents have long been using the utility’s property to go for a swim.
One of the most commonly used access to the Feather River is the Miocene Canal. The trail is predominantly a dirt path that runs parallel to the shallow ditch, or flume, that carries water PG&E uses to generate hydroelectricity at the Lime Saddle and Coal Canyon power plants.
Segments of the trail turn into elevated walkways on steep ends of the canyon, as well as catwalks that go right over the flume itself. There are only a few barriers along the entire length of the canal, nearly 6.4 miles, but signs at various points warn hikers that they are…
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