Today’s story from the Sacramento Bee reports on another link in the Golden Necklace we envision reaching from downtown Sacramento—Gateway to the Gold Fields—to Coloma where gold was discovered.
We wrote about this in our 2007 report The American River Parkway: Governance, Ecoregionalism, & Heritage, in the ecoregionalism section pages 17-29.
Kudos to the American River Conservancy for their wonderful work—over many years—on this magnificent project.
An excerpt from the Bee story.
“Starting Friday, it will be possible to enjoy the American River's south fork from Folsom Lake to near Coloma and stay dry doing so.
“The scenic stretch of (mostly) untouched nature has long been among the West's premier locations for whitewater rafting and kayaking. But for those on foot, horse or mountain bike, there hasn't been a way to traverse the full length of the winding south fork stretch that many say puts the "gorge" in gorgeous.
“This morning, a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Salmon Falls trailhead will trumpet the opening of the 25-mile South Fork American River Trail, a multiuse path featuring seasonally wildflower-saturated grasslands, oak woodlands, riparian habitats, sage-covered ridges and views of the river below.
“The trail's opening Friday morning for use by hikers, runners, mountain bikers and (for most of its length) equestrians will be the culmination of decades of grant-writing, fundraising, property negotiations, trail cutting and bridge building by the American River Conservancy and the federal Bureau of Land Management.
"When we started the project in 1989, we had no idea if it'd be successful," said Alan Ehrgott, the ARC's executive director. "This (area) is important because it's a true wildlife corridor, and 18 percent of the native plant categories (in the state) are in that space."
“Preserving this lush segment of the Sierra foothills was a major motivation for the organizations. But they also wanted to provide Northern California outdoors enthusiasts a long stretch of trail that connects at the southwest end to existing Folsom Lake State Recreation Area trails.
"That reach of the canyon was only available to boaters, but we sought to broaden the constituency for our efforts by including a recreational trail that would serve equestrians, fishermen, hikers and mountain bikers," Ehrgott said.
“Eventually, ARC executives said, they would like to see the trail curve toward Auburn and connect with the Olmstead Loop in Cool. They also are working on an alternate path near Salmon Falls to accommodate equestrians, who don't have access to the final two miles of the new trail.
“But for now, 20 years of work on 25 miles – nearly 80 percent of it newly cut trail – should be enough to satisfy users.”