The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

An old adage that has been governing the enforcement of the illegal camping restrictions in the American River Parkway, which was well stated a year ago by the Chief Parkway Ranger in an article in the Sacramento Bee which we noted in our newsletter:

An excerpt from the June 6, 2014 article in the Sacramento Bee:

“One of the park service’s most important tasks is protecting the 23-mile-long American River Parkway. Homeless encampments along the heavily used bike and running path have caused controversy for the regional parks department in recent years, with critics saying the county needs to do more to address the problem. Illegal campers lack access to bathrooms and trash disposal facilities, so waste accumulates in the areas where they congregate, creating health hazards and threatening wildlife. Recreational parkway users and nearby property owners have raised concerns about safety.

“Havicon said he plans to continue the county’s strategy of issuing citations to illegal campers as rangers encounter them during their patrols. He acknowledged that this practice does not deter campers from returning to their sites, or simply moving to another area of the parkway.

“We’re not going to solve the problem no matter what we do,” Havicon said. “The problem’s always going to be there. The best we can do is manage what we have.”

“He estimated the department issued 2,000 illegal camping citations last year, and thinks 100 to 200 people are camping in the woods adjacent to the parkway on any given night.”

Retrieved June 6, 2014 from

Most folks keeping up with the situation would estimate probably twice that number still camping in the Parkway any given night; an extremely discouraging state of affairs, begging the question, “Isn’t there a better way to handle this?”.

Well yes, turn over management of the Parkway to a nonprofit organization, as we specify in our strategy, posted to our website at,

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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