It’s been a long time since this last happened, but it now appears California is set to open a new state park.
The 2,500-acre property, which was once home to dairy pastures and almond orchards, will be California’s 280th state park — and the first new state park to open since Fort Ord Dunes near Monterey in 2009, according to The Modesto Bee. Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, announced last week that he is allocating $5 million for the new park as part of his state budget proposal.
Armando Quintero, California’s state parks director, said the property will serve the San Joaquin Valley, which is “a park-poor region,” and help address inequities in access to California’s recreation areas, according to the Associated Press.
“Everyone deserves to have close access to vibrant parks and this opportunity is an exciting one,” Quintero said.
The Planned Park
The nearly 4-square-mile property, Dos Rios Ranch, is about 10 miles from Modesto. Known to locals as “Twin Rivers,” the property is seated between the Tuolumne and San Joaquin Rivers.
River Partners, a conservation group in Chico, California, acquired the property in 2012. The group and its partners have been restoring the property by planting native trees, brush, and grass on fields that used to grow dairy feed and other crops, The Modesto Bee reports. So far, they have invested nearly $46 million on Dos Rios.
The group plans to transfer the property to the state of California rather than selling it. That way, the earmarked funds for the park can be used for amenities, rather than purchasing the property.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to use some of those funds, some of that funding, for the initial capital improvements,” Quintero said, according to KCRA.
Quintero said the plan calls for the park to open to the public sometime in 2023, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We have to do an archaeological survey and ensure we’re not disturbing any Native American sites or anything like that,” said Quintero. “There is going to be a fair amount of planning that goes in before we bring in sustainable infrastructure there.”
What’s special about the property is that it is near Modesto but also sits at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne Rivers, Quintero continued.
“There is access to both rivers so you can fish, as well as get in the water,” Quintero said, the Los Angeles Times reports. “In a way, it’s a walk back in time to a gentle valley. It’s one of those places where people will visit and say, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is where I live.’ That’s my hope.”
Of course, while trails, picnic areas, and, possibly, a campground, may eventually be developed, the park will also be used for conservation. For instance, the park will feature restored habitats for endangered animals, including sandhill cranes, riparian brush rabbits, and Central Valley Chinook salmon, The Modesto Bee reports.
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