ARPPS Newsletter, Spring 2018, Two Rivers Trail

American River Parkway Preservation Society Newsletter:

Issue 58 – Spring 2018



Announcement:   Article about ARPPS                                                                  Page 1

Essay: Two Rivers Trail                                                                                                Page 1

Society Information:                                                                                              Page 6


Announcement: Article about ARPPS

Inside Publications published an interview with me about ARPPS on page 22 of the March Issue, available at and the photo accompanying the article was taken on the levee in River Park overlooking the Parkway where the Two Rivers Trail would go.


Essay: Two Rivers Trail

This project, which is described on the Sacramento City website at has generated some controversy with many residents of the adjacent neighborhood, River Park, in opposition to it as evidenced by their signs around the neighborhood, Save Don’t Pave and their website .

Our organization has commented in support of this project over 10 years ago, in Parkway Blog Posts in 2006 and 2007:

This story from today’s Bee is a wonderful example of the strengthening of the American River Parkway, key to our mission, by the Sacramento City Council moving forward on the long planned Two Rivers Trail, on the south side of the American River between Interstate 5 and Highway 160.

Anytime we are able to see the existing Parkway expanded, either through adding additional land or connecting to other open space or trails, it is a huge plus for area recreation, and though there is still work to be done, it is great to see it continued.

Retrieved March 27, 2018 from

Fulfilling the visionary promise of our area in relation to its rivers is just what this project is part of and it is a truly beautiful vision.

Retrieved March 27, 2018 from

Both of those posts were well before the problem of illegal camping by the homeless had grown to the level where it now threatens virtually the entire Parkway and the Save Don’t Pave group ably express their specific concern—as well as others—with the impact of increased illegal camping by the homeless near their neighborhood if the trail is paved, on their webpage

The problems across the river in the area we call Parkway’s Skid Row—from Discovery Park to Cal Expo—which the County’s stewardship has made worse, as surmised in this recent article from the Sacramento News & Review we blogged about on March 23, 2018 at entitled, Hundreds Illegally Camping in Parkway, where we posted:

That appears to be the consensus and the final line in this March 22, 2018 article from the Sacramento News & Review; as well as accepted knowledge from those of us who have been paying attention to this issue for years, makes note of that.

It is worse now than ever.

An excerpt from the article.

“Sally Dunbar hiked across a verdant meadow along the American River until a blue flap gave her pause. “Wait,” Dunbar said, eying the tent. The 66-year-old grandmother and realtor pulled out her smartphone and dropped a location “pin” using Sacramento 311’s app.

“Volunteer river stewards like Dunbar intend for this information to reach Sacramento County rangers tasked with citing people who illegally camp along the shore. Rangers received 35 of those alerts in January, county figures show, and handed out 260 tickets.

“It’s not like homeless people have many legal places to go instead. City and county officials haven’t reopened warming centers since last March, leaving 383 beds for the thousands of people sleeping on streets or along waterways.

“Recent storms didn’t result in temperatures dipping below the three-day, 32-degree threshold that triggers the centers to open. However, emergency staff can open them for other reasons, like the hail that blanketed Sacramento in late February or last week’s storms, the heaviest this year. There were no requests to do so, said county spokesperson Janna Haynes…

“I know there will be more camps to clean up,” Dunbar said, sounding resolved. “This is a natural resource. We need to protect it.”

“Jordan Powell, the American River Parkway Foundation’s volunteer coordinator, said county parks crews clean up the majority of the trash, which he says originates from recreational users as well as homeless people. He said 5,000 to 6,000 foundation volunteers pick up the rest and perform other conservation measures.

“Last winter’s torrential rains brought the American River to historic levels, chasing homeless campers from flooded riverbanks into more visible urban centers, according to a point-in-time report from Sacramento State University and Sacramento Steps Forward. The flooding also caused soil erosion that may be contributing to animal feces ending up in the river.

“Powell said he wasn’t sure if the river has been impacted by camping or foreign debris. But, speaking only as a Sacramento resident, he said the parkway is a poor alternative to a lack of shelter.

“The parkway is not a good answer to the lack of beds. That’s where the enforcement attitude comes from county parks, and why we need to really take a hard look at what we’re willing to invest in,” he said. “Until then, our stewards will roll up their sleeves and help out.”

“Days after Dunbar’s tour, campfires dotted the river near downtown, alighting dozens of tents and maybe hundreds of people.”

Retrieved March 22, 2018 from

This makes it difficult to convince the residents of River Park, the neighborhood adjacent to the proposed Two River’s Trail, that anything will be different for them if the trail is paved making access for the homeless illegal campers with their shopping carts much easier.

Our Position

Our position is that while we generally support the enhancement of the Parkway, the arguments made by the neighborhood as represented; either by the neighborhood association—currently neutral–or a majority of polled neighborhood residents adjacent to this particular enhancement should take precedence, at least until such time as Parkway management has addressed all of their concerns with concrete solutions or effective rebuttals.

Our position is congruent with one of our guiding principles: “Regarding new parkway usages: Inclusion should be the operating principle rather than exclusion”, which supports that the neighborhood’s concerns should be included in the decision making process rather than excluded.

The new Parkway usage will be the increased traffic and the addition of bikes on the new paved trail and including the impacted neighborhood in the decision making process should be the operating principle rather than excluding them.

There are at least a couple points that could be negotiated:

Could the new paved trail be built alongside the already existing natural trail, thus retaining the quiet pedestrian trail?

Would the city of Sacramento, if the plan proceeds as currently structured, promise, in a concrete manner, to absolutely stop any illegal camping near the trail, and provide an easily accessible citizen method of alerting city police/Parkway Rangers about illegal camps?

One argument the Save Don’t Pave group make is especially effective: “LOSING A QUIET PEDESTRIAN TRAIL TO BICYCLE TRAFFIC, Retrieved March 16, 2018 from

If you have ever walked meanderingly along the paved bike trail quietly lost in reflection about the beauty of the Parkway and had a squad of cyclists come speeding by, you know how valuable a quiet pedestrian trail can be, and draws attention to the idea of building a paved trail alongside the existing natural trail.

Here is the list related to that concern from the Save Don’t Pave website:


“Currently this area is a place people come to. Once it is paved, it will become a place people simply travel through.

“Hikers, families, and dog walkers come from all over Sacramento to use this quieter stretch of the American River Parkway. Many of those people are adamantly opposed to paving this section of the levee trail.

“By its very purpose, paving the trail will bring more foot/bike traffic to the area on the other side of the levee, making it less peaceful than it is today.

“In addition to foot/bike traffic on the pathway itself, foot/bike/car traffic will increase in River Park as people identify Glenn Hall Park as an access point. This will likely increase incidents of speeding, and other traffic violations.

“More cars parked on neighborhood streets near trail access points, affecting residents ability to park and access their homes. Increased use of neighborhood streets, parking, and the surrounding trail will likely increase the amount of litter on neighborhood streets and on the parkway.”

Retrieved March 27, 2018 from

These are all valid concerns and need to be addressed.

There is a River Park Neighborhood Association Spring General Meeting scheduled to discuss this project: Saturday, April 7, 2018 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, at Caleb Greenwood School, more info at


Society Information


The American River Parkway Preservation Society is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. As a member, you will receive a monthly e-letter, quarterly newsletter, and periodic planning position papers.

Federal ID # 20-0238035


Board of Directors: President, Michael Rushford, President, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation;

VP/Secretary, Pete Bontadelli, Project Director/Consultant, Analytical Environmental Services

Chief Financial Officer/Founder, David H. Lukenbill, President, Lukenbill & Associates

American River Parkway Preservation Society

2267 University Avenue * Sacramento, CA 95825


Website: * Blog:

Newsletter Editor: David H. Lukenbill, Senior Policy Director

Our Mission

Preserve, Protect, & Strengthen the American River Parkway, Our Community’s Natural Heart.

Our Vision

We want our Parkway, seven generations from now, to be a vibrant, accessible, and serene sanctuary, nourishing and refreshing the spirit of all who enter it.

Our Guiding Principles

(1) Preserving the Parkway is not an option, it’s a necessity.

(2) What’s good for the salmon is good for the river.

(3) Regarding illegal camping by the homeless in the North Sacramento area of the Parkway, social and environmental justice call upon us to help the poor and distressed person but not at the expense of the adjacent community to visit the Parkway safely.

(4) If it can be seen from the Parkway, it shouldn’t be built along the Parkway.

(5) Regarding new Parkway usages, inclusion should be the operating principle rather than exclusion.

(6) The suburban lifestyle—as surrounds the American River Parkway—which is imbued within the aspirational center of the California Dream and whose vision is woven into the heart of the American Dream, is a deeply loved way of life whose sustainability we all desire.

The Society depends solely on its membership to continue our advocacy to preserve the Parkway in perpetuity, and we deeply appreciate any additional financial support you can provide, or by encouraging others to become members. Thank You! 

© 2018 American River Parkway Preservation Society


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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