Flooded Parkway

If climate prognosticators are correct, we are in for a lot more of the same as reported in this story from the Sacramento Bee, so it might be wise—to keep the Parkway in usable shape year round—to build Auburn Dam.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

With the popular American River Parkway mostly underwater, local residents accustomed to exercising along the waterway will have to find alternate routes for the second straight weekend.

The next major downpour is expected to hit the region Monday, giving people who don’t mind cloudy skies and a light drizzle a chance to get outside before the next downpour.

Amy Rihel, training coordinator for Fleet Feet Sports, said it’s been challenging for runners accustomed to using the parkway to find places to get in their miles.

“We’ve been in this pickle in the last couple of weeks on where to take our groups,” Rihel said. “Land Park has been kind of a lifeline.”

Depending on the desired distance, McKinley Park and Land Park can be big enough to avoid boredom while running loops this Presidents Day weekend, she said, though some of the dirt paths are muddy. The paved trail around North Natomas Regional Park is approximately 2.5 miles, so “even if you’re doing long distance, it doesn’t get too crazy like you’re going in circles all the time,” she said.

Rihel recommended the greenbelt in the Pocket neighborhood, the Clarksburg Branch Pedestrian and Bike Trail in West Sacramento and the Sacramento River Parkway. The last one is not as maintained as the American River Parkway, but it’s paved and “you can get some decent mileage on that,” she said.

For people willing to drive, Rihel suggested heading out to the Auburn and Folsom Lake state recreation areas.

In Auburn, Supervising Park Ranger Scott Liske said rangers are contending with erosion and downed trees on some trails, but the most popular routes are open. The Lake Clementine and Stagecoach Trails offer some dramatic water views.

“One of the unique parts of the Auburn State Recreation Area is the confluence” of the north fork and middle fork of the American River, Liske said. “This time of year, with water on everyone’s mind, you can really see the power of the rivers when the two join up there.”

At Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, trails are open for running, biking and walking.

Farther downstream, Lake Natoma was closed to boaters when flows from Folsom Dam passed 30,000 cubic feet per second.

Brian Dulgar, director of the Sacramento State Aquatic Center at the southwest end of the lake, said the prolonged closure is causing problems for hundreds of rowers who regularly work out on the lake. He has taken teams and equipment up to Folsom Lake to practice, but debris in the water makes it difficult to find smooth spots to train.

“Everything is just coming down from the mountains,” he said.

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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