California will get its first new state park in over a decade – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) – California will build its first new state park in 13 years.
The 2,500-acre property, known as Dos Rios Ranch, will likely be donated to California’s state park system by River Partners, a nonprofit organization that has worked to restore and naturalize the land after years of using it as farmland.
“Dos Rios Ranch would be a remarkable addition to California’s natural wonders,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement shared with CNN. “Our state park system is the largest and most diverse in the country – home to ancient redwoods, over 300 miles of shoreline and thousands of historic and prehistoric archaeological sites.
“California needs more state parks — and state parks that all Californians can benefit from.”
California Department of Parks and Recreation Director Armando Quintero told CNN that the state is in the process of finalizing the acquisition. “California State Parks must complete a thorough review of the transaction and obtain approvals from state regulatory agencies before accepting this property,” Quintero said.
“We have to go through and make sure all the titles are clear,” he said. “We’re pretty confident it’s going to be pretty easy.”
They expect the new park, which will be named through a participatory process involving the public and the California State Parks Commission, to open in 2023.
Quintero said the government has requested that $5 million be allocated to purchase the park. But since the land was actually donated by River Partners, the state can now use those funds “to begin delivering services.”
The state’s unique location at the crossroads of two rivers makes it a particularly attractive location for a state park, Quintero said.
“There are places in the park where you’re standing in a stand of hundred-year-old oak trees on the banks of a river, looking out over wetlands and a wildlife sanctuary that’s currently home to an incredible amount of wildlife. he said. “It really feels like wild California.”
But for all of its wild attributes, the park will be just 20 minutes from downtown Modesto, California.
Preserving the park also has environmental benefits, according to Quintero. Forest restoration on the property will help reduce flood risk and provide heat protection.
“The importance of this park is that it will become a multipurpose public land,” he said.
“I hope this becomes a model that we can demonstrate to the public and then, in partnership with the public, we leverage those opportunities.”
Quintero said the state will work with the public to decide what services the park will offer. Opportunities include hiking trails, camping, and kayaking or canoeing on the two rivers.
River Partners President Julie Renter also emphasized the unique environmental value of the property.
“When people come to visit, they will be able to see ecosystem restoration in action, to see compelling stories about water management that are important when we think about climate change, drought, groundwater recharge and flood transport ‘ she told CNN.
“We all dreamed that one day, after somehow being restored and reforested and reconnected to the river, this property would be open to the public.”
The non-profit organization spent almost 10 years restoring the property and bringing back trees and shrubs – making it an attractive habitat for returning wildlife such as rabbits, monarch butterflies and wood rats.
“Converting this property into a state park gives the people of California this tremendous recreational opportunity where none currently exists, in a location that has no equal,” said Renter.
Renter also highlighted the collaboration required between River Partners and other partners such as Tuolumne River Trust to restore and establish the park. “It’s a really cool model of partnership and collaboration between several different agencies, different programs and organizations all coming together.”
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