New superintendent takes Auburn State Recreation Area helm


After less than a month on the job as new Auburn State Recreation Area superintendent, Mike Schneider said he has quickly learned to appreciate the diverse recreational opportunities the 38,000 acres of wildland near Auburn provides the public.

Schneider, 37, succeeds veteran Auburn State Recreation Area ranger Mike Lynch, who retired in July.

Spread out over the middle and north fork American River canyons, the recreation area is owned by the federal government but operated under contract by the State Parks Department.

Schneider said the recreation area offers a variety of activities for visitors, ranging from whitewater rafting to climbing, hiking to biking, and horse riding to boating. The University of Arizona graduate has worked at the two beach parks, located between Los Angeles and San Diego, since 2003.

“This is a 180-degree change – the ultimate ranger park,” Schneider said. “Just about anything you can do to recreate – it’s all here.”

Schneider took on his new role Aug. 1 after serving five years as supervisor in the two state beaches, where it wasn’t uncommon to welcome 20,000 people at each during a weekend.

The Auburn State Recreation Area is spread out, with a variety of access points. Schneider said that part of his first few months at his new posting will be learning as much about the different areas of the park as possible.

That newfound experience will provide him with the background to work with the various user groups to make the park an even better experience, he said.

“Parks not only help provide a getaway from the daily grind, they play an important role in healthy, balanced lives,” Schneider said.

Schneider, who is looking for a residence in the Auburn area, said the move to Northern California puts him closer to his roots in the Fresno area, where he grew up not only on a ranch but “in the pool.” He was a competitive swimmer and water polo player, captaining the University of Arizona water polo squad the last two years.

That love of the water led to seven seasons as a seasonal lifeguard at Millerton Lake State Recreation Area – and on to a career with State Parks.    

By  Gus Thomson / Auburn Journal
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