Vehicle access to the Auburn State Recreation Area off Auburn’s Maidu Drive will be continued through the winter and expanded, with the China Bar gate open to visitors during the daytime four days a week.
State Parks has normally closed access Oct. 1 but will now be providing a way down to the AmericanRiver at China Bar from 8 a.m. to sunset Friday to Monday. There is a $10 daily use fee or visitors can obtain a State Parks pass.
Mike Howard, Auburn State Recreation Area acting superintendent, said Wednesday that past staffing shortages and low levels of use have kept the China Bar vehicle gate closed during winters. Besides pay parking at the top of Maidu Drive, there is a lot partway down and limited parking at the river shoreline.
User demand is up at the Auburn State Recreation Area and China Bar provides access from the city of Auburn, particularly for rafters wanting to utilize a good Class II whitewater section from Highway 49 to Oregon Bar, Howard said.
The China Bar area also offers hiking-trail access, river views and fishing opportunities.
The four-days-a-week opening will start Friday and run into May. State Parks will evaluate future opening days in the spring, Howard said. This past summer, the Oregon Bar access was open 8 a.m. to sunset on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
In anticipation of the change, signage is being put up to let pedestrians who may not be used to increased traffic on Fridays and Mondays know that the road to the river will be open.