Friday, October 21, 2005

More Land for the Parkway

A story in the Bee on Thursday, October 20th, noted that a grant has been submitted to purchase a 123 acre site near Discovery Park which will make a wonderful addition to the Parkway.

The backstory, not mentioned, is that County Parks wisely established a foundation many years ago for this specific purpose, to acquire funds to buy land to add to the Parkway when it became available, but unwisely has allowed the foundation’s purpose to become Parkway clean-up.

Clean-up is important, but having money, in-hand rather than having to count on a grant, to add to the Parkway is also. A central aspect of the strategy of the American River Parkway Preservation Society, available at our website is to create an endowment to help strengthen the Parkway.

We hope they get the grant, as there isn’t enough money in-hand to even properly take care of the existing Parkway.

Agency seeks to reclaim old mine
Pit near bike trail has become rest stop for migrating birds.
By Bill Lindelof -- Bee Staff Writer Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, October 20, 2005

A grant will be sought to environmentally restore a large, privately held parcel in the American River Parkway.

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency is seeking a $5 million grant to reclaim the 123-acre Gardenland Mine site near Discovery Park.

The agency has applied to the California River Parkways Grant Program in anticipation of being able to buy the property, which is dominated by a large hole.

The property, between the river and the bicycle trail, has reportedly been owned by the Urrutia family since the 1930s.

In the late 1970s, Henry Urrutia wanted to build a marina on part of the land. His family once had a bean farm on the property.

Urrutia had permission to dig sand and gravel from the property. The mining operation left a big hole that filled with water.

But the Sacramento City Council denied Urrutia permission to build the marina.
Meanwhile, the pit has become a resting spot for birds on the Pacific Flyway.

Elderberry bushes along the property's river edge are potential habitat for the threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle.

The property also has recreational possibilities: Trails could be built on the land if it is acquired, county officials said.

The city of Sacramento and Sacramento County both approved resolutions backing the flood control agency's grant application last week.

A county report notes that the mine site has "a steep-side 62-acre pit that is now a lake, hydraulically linked to the American River through alluvial soils." The pit, according to the report, is home to non-native fish.

In 2004, the flood control agency obtained grant funds that included $250,000 for planning of the lower parkway and $1.5 million for restoring the Gardenland Mine's riverside, according to the report.

A restored site could become a valuable, bucolic addition to the parkway, county officials said.

Also, county and flood control agency officials said, if a state Indian Museum is built nearby, the site would lend itself to interpretative programs.

For the rest of the story: