It's been a rough start to fire "season" in the lower American River Parkway. Fire is a natural event here as in many areas but dry conditions and human carelessness have greatly increased the risk of fire. The frequency and intensity of many of the fires that burn now increase threats to wildlife and lead to habitat loss that is difficult to recover. Cooking fires, BBQs, camp fires, fireworks and similar human activities in the Parkway are not legal in most locations. If you see a fire burning or someone doing something that could quickly lead to a fire you can make a 911 call. Unfortunately, the fire departments are no stranger to responding to the many grass and other vegetation fires that seem to occur now on a daily basis. A few photos from recent fires in the area follow. Unfortunately, there will be many more soon.
The 2021 Earth Day Clean Up at SLP was a huge success!
Thanks in part to Wes Samms and his awesome crew who provided us with all the necessary supplies to get the job done (Wes and his group are in the first set of photos) and to Betsy Weiland of Save the American River Association (SARA) for her unwavering support, dedication, guidance and leadership related to our Sacramento gateway to the American River Parkway!
We also owe a big Thank You to many others including employees of Amazon and Callendar Associates for taking the time to come out and pick up trash along the beach, walking trails, the dog park and in the bushes and trees!!! This clean up could not have been as successful without everybody's help!
BIG Thanks and appreciation to everyone! (photos by Kathy)
Betsy taking care of weeds once again!
We owe a BIG Thank You to Steve Kayner and Robert Sewell for removing some very heavy remains of an encampment that has since been abandoned off the west side of the trail near the river!
Employees of Amazon and Callendar Associates came out to pick up trash along the beach, walking trails, dog park and the bushes and trees
Awesome crew came out to clean up SLP
The following pictures show the reason this Clean Up is so important. We need to protect all our natural resources at SLP and all along our Parkway.
2020 was the year many Sacramentans and residents of other cities discovered Sutter’s Landing Regional Park. During the summer, new visitors flocked to the beach, double and triple over past years. They came from as far away as the East Bay and Napa and Sonoma counties to escape the wildfire smoke. Like local families, they brought their children to the Landing for its sandy beaches sloping gently into the shallow, slow-moving river. People came to swim and sunbathe, and stand up on paddle boards.
There was a downside to the summer crowds, though. So many new visitors stressed the landscape. Some added to the impact by cutting new paths or trees for illegal fires, letting their dogs run unchecked, or leaving trash on the beach.
In response, members of Friends of Sutter’s Landing (FOSL), Save the American River Association, and neighborhood volunteers decided to lead by example. Beginning on July 3, they turned out with trash pickers and buckets, and handed out litter bags to visitors. It was clear that this would not be a one -time event. There was too much to do.
Sutter’s Landing was so popular it was necessary to walk the parking lot and beach daily to keep them picked up. FOSL also reached out to Sacramento County and Sacramento City Parks for support. Quickly, the City replaced a cluttered group of trash cans with a larger trailer of sufficient capacity.
Sacramento County Rangers assigned a liaison to coordinate with the FOSL team and respond to its 311 app reports in the Parkway. And the City allowed our volunteers to assist with weeding the raised bed planters, restoration sites, and Park grounds.
To enlist more of the public and to inform, we created a flier listing the non-emergency telephone numbers for the city and county along with their 311 app addresses. Everyone we engaged received a copy and encouragement to get involved by reporting issues and concerns.
There were unexpected benefits as well. Volunteers who tend the same stretch of parkway regularly not only become familiar with it, but they also interact more with other visitors building community. When you actively care for the Parkway, strangers will approach you.
It all worked. Gradually, river goers took more care during their visits. And a hidden cadre of longtime beach lovers quietly continued what they had always done, packing out more than they brought in. What we began in early summer continues. When we show up, others notice and recognize that taking care of our Parkway is a gift we give to each other.
Thanks to the combined efforts of all, Sutter’s Landing is on the mend. It will always need our care and protection. There is restoration to be done, scarred trails to heal, and new trees and shrubs to plant. But, for now, it is a safe and peaceful place to enjoy nature and paddle serenely on the river.
Great news to report regarding Sutter’s Landing Park!
On Tuesday night, January 19th 2021, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved the acquisition of the Blue Diamond property as an addition to Sutter’s Landing Park. The City will use the $1.6 million Proposition 68 grant the City received from the Wildlife Conservation Board’s (WCB) Lower American River Conservancy to purchase this property.
Your active support for funding this acquisition was critical! Thank you! WCB received more support for letters for the Sutter’s Landing Park acquisition project than any other project that it considered under the Lower American River Conservancy program (your letters and letters from Mr. McDaniel’s students at Washington Elementary School are part of the grant official records!).
The City also reached agreement with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) to secure the adjacent property that SMUD owns immediately to the west of the Blue Diamond property. SMUD has built its new Substation B electrical transfer station on the southern portion of its property and will soon be dismantling the old transfer station infrastructure (the power lines will remain). SMUD will transfer to the City the portion of its property that sits to the northeast of Substation B and continues to the middle of the Lower American River.
Together, these properties will add about 30 acres to Sutter’s Landing Park providing for wildlife habitat protection (and hopefully restoration) and the possibility of hiking trails and the extension of the Two Rivers Trail westward just about to the Northern Sacramento Bikeway.
Before the City actually takes title to the two properties, Blue Diamond and SMUD must complete remediation of their respective properties which could take 12-18 months. This should provide time for the City to plan how best to use the park expansion properties.
2020 was the year many Sacramentans as well as residents of other cities discovered Sutter’s Landing Regional Park. Over the summer, the number of new visitors flocking to the beach was double or triple what it had been before. They came from as far away as the East Bay and Napa and Sonoma counties to escape the wildfire smoke. Like local families, they brought their children to the Landing for its sandy beaches sloping gently into the shallow, slow-moving river. People came to swim and sunbathe and stand up on paddle boards.
There was a downside to the summer crowds, though. So many new visitors stressed the landscape. Some added to the impact by making new paths down to the river, cutting trees for wood for illegal fires, letting their dogs run unchecked, or leaving trash on the beach. In response, members of FOSL and neighborhood volunteers sought to lead by example, arriving with trash pickers and buckets, and handing out litter bags on weekends. It worked. Park visitors noticed and changed their behavior. And a hidden cadre of longtime beach lovers quietly continued doing what they had always done—pack out more than they brought in. Thanks to their combined efforts, Sutter’s Landing is on the mend. It will always need our care and protection. There is restoration work to be done, such as healing scarred trails and planting new trees and shrubs. But, for now, the park is a safe and peaceful place to enjoy nature and paddle serenely on the American River.
The Friends of Sutter’s Landing (FOSL) seek to create a welcoming and safe place where families and individuals can relax, recreate, and enjoy the beauties of nature along the American River, both now and in the future (http://www.sutterslandingpark.org/). If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org -------
We have scheduled a volunteer work morning at the Sutter’s Landing Restoration site this coming Saturday, January 23rd. Time is 9:00am to 11:30. Milk Thistle has sprouted, “The best time to pull a weed is NOW.” So that’s what we will do. Bring a shovel, I have a few extra, and join us as we walk through the Restoration Site and selectively cut them. (Identification information will be provided).
Please let me know if you are coming and if you have a your own shovel. We also have buckets and trash pickers if that is more to your liking. Looking forward to seeing all who can make it on Saturday.