Gibson Ranch

Our organization supported the creation of the public/private partnership to manage Gibson Park four years ago, and this article from the Sacramento Bee validates that support.

What is being done there is a model deserving of replication, even with the American River Parkway itself.

An excerpt.

When budget constraints forced the closure of Gibson Ranch Park in Sacramento County four years ago, Doug Ose, a land developer long back from a stint in Congress, applied to run the facility as a private operator.

The issue, he said at the time, was that the park needed to generate more money to help pay for itself. “If you strip down to the basics of the problems at Gibson Ranch, we don’t have enough revenues,” Ose said.

Since Ose took over in April 2011, the regional park has been open daily, welcomed about 250,000 visitors and served as the backdrop for scores of birthdays, weddings, family reunions and a popular Civil War re-enactment. …

Ose’s supporters have taken aim at critics for having no viable plan of their own to keep the park open, clean and in safe condition. They believe the partnership has been successful “because (the park) is open,” as county Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan said in an interview earlier this year.

Until he began campaigning in earnest, Ose could be found at the ranch in jeans and a flannel shirt doing manual labor, MacGlashan said. A county Web page for the facility says picnic sites are available daily, on a first-come, first-served basis, and also by reservation: “Contact Doug at 916-806-3868 for reservations.”

“He wasn’t just a figurehead. He was actually out there,” she said. This has “not been a profitable venture for him, but it’s been very good for the county.”

Supervisor Susan Peters said Ose met regularly with the people who use the ranch and has done a good job of incorporating their input.

“He worked to smooth over the relationship with many of the residents, and we don’t get any complaints,” Peters said.

“I think he thought of it almost as a community service,” the supervisor added. “He lives on a small ranch and thought he could put those skills to use. I think he’s that way. … He grew up in the area and when you’ve grown up in an area you know what residents want.”

Parks officials expressed general satisfaction with the operator.

Bob Bastian, a member of the county’s parks commission, said the brown fields and low lake level are a result of the drought, not mismanagement. Bastian said Ose has been a cautious steward of the park and only requests county reimbursements when needed.

“Doug is very conservative and watches his dollars,” he said.

Retrieved August 8, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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