Thank You to Everyone who Helped Make GARCU 2022 a HUGE Success!

 

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Great American River Clean-Up a success this year!

 

1,308 Participants

41,245 Pounds of Trash

Over 30 Pounds Per Person

 

Removing trash from the American River Parkway has tremendous environmental benefits. It reduces the amount of pollutants – like battery acid, microplastics and Styrofoam – that enter the environment, decreases the amount of trash in our waterways, protects water quality and removes hazards that are a danger to wildlife.

This year’s event was held at more than 20 locations along the Parkway. Some of the more interesting things found during the clean-up include dentures, a pellet rifle, a car door and a hand forklift.

The Great American River Clean-Up is held during the California Coastal Cleanup, a larger statewide effort to clean our waterways. The event takes place every September.

 

Thank you to our sponsors.

  • Carmichael Water District
  • Gold River Community Association
  • Sacramento Suburban Water District
  • SMUD

 

Thank you to our volunteer groups representing:

  • American Heritage Girls Troop CA1271
  • Butterfield Riviera East Community Association
  • California Conservation Corps
  • Capital Tech Solutions
  • El Parkis Youth Group
  • Five Star Bank
  • Fort Sutter Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG)
  • Girl Scout Troop 4028
  • Jackson Labs
  • Pepperdine Sacramento Waves
  • Rotary Club of Arden-Arcade
  • Rotary Club of Sacramento
  • Rhombus
  • Sac State Softball Team
  • Sac State Student Environmental Organization
  • Sacramento Picks It Up
  • Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps
  • Scout Troop 8
  • Scout Troop 447
  • Target
  • Tzu Chi USA Sacramento Service Center
  • UC Davis Law Students Association
  • Union Sacramento FC
  • United Way California Capital Region
  • Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento

And thank you to all of the individuals, families and other groups that gave up part of their weekend to help our Parkway. Without your support, we would not have been able to accomplish what we did.

See the full press release for more details and photos.

More Than 39,000 Pounds of Trash and Debris Removed by Volunteers During the Great American River Clean-Up

Over 1,300 members of the Sacramento community joined in the largest annual clean-up of the American River Parkway.

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Dentures, golf clubs and a hand forklift were just some of the items removed from the American River Parkway (Parkway) during the American River Parkway Foundation’s (Parkway Foundation) 19th Annual Great American River Clean-Up on Saturday, September 17. In all, 1,308 volunteers removed 39,645 pounds of trash. That’s more than 30 pounds per volunteer.

 

The Great American River Clean-Up is the largest annual clean-up of the Parkway. This year, there were over 20 locations stretching from Discovery Park to Black Miners Bar in Lake Natoma. Families, groups and individuals of all ages and sizes attended the clean-up, removing clothing, batteries, plastic, styrofoam and other trash and debris.

 

“The American River Parkway is a true urban jewel. The American River Parkway Foundation is able to accomplish what we do on the Parkway because of our volunteers,” said Dianna Poggetto, Parkway Foundation Executive Director. “Thank you to the businesses, groups, families and individuals that dedicated part of their Saturday to make the Great American River Clean-Up a success.”

 

Some of the most interesting items found during the clean-up this year:

  • Dentures
  • A car door
  • Nice pair of dress shoes
  • Hand forklift
  • Pellet Rifle
  • Golf clubs
  • Pickaxe

 

The Great American River Clean-Up takes place every year in conjunction with the California Coastal Cleanup, normally held the third Saturday of each September. It is part of the Parkway Foundation’s overall Parkway Clean-Ups program.

 

More details about Parkway Foundation programs can be found at www.ARPF.org/Programs

 

About the American River Parkway Foundation

The American River Parkway Foundation (Parkway Foundation) is the only nonprofit organization focused on active conservation of all 23 miles of the American River Parkway (Parkway). Through managing programs like volunteer clean-ups, infrastructure improvements, trail maintenance, fire mitigation and education, the Parkway Foundation leads and inspires the community to conserve and nurture the Parkway as a unique, accessible resource for everyone to enjoy. Learn more at www.ARPF.org.

 

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The American River Parkway Foundation Reacts to the Passage of the American River Parkway Ordinance

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The American River Parkway Foundation released the below statement regarding the passage of a Sacramento County ordinance focused on illegal camping on the American River Parkway. The ordinance was passed 5-0 by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors at the August 23rd meeting:

 

“While we applaud the passage of the ordinance toughening restrictions on illegal camping on the American River Parkway, we urge Sacramento County leaders to continue to make the development of shelter and wrap-around services for the unhoused a priority. Enforcement, while important, doesn’t address the root cause and won’t be effective without these other two key elements.

 

“There are 2,000-3,000 illegal campers on the Parkway. We’re experiencing environmental and humanitarian crises we’ve never seen before. But focusing only on enforcement will lead to whack-a-mole and never truly address the issue.

 

“More shelter space and services will help the unhoused get off the streets. The American River Parkway Foundation remains committed to helping the County with this undertaking.”

 

Dianna Poggetto
Executive Director
American River Parkway Foundation

 

About the American River Parkway Foundation

The American River Parkway Foundation (Parkway Foundation) is the only nonprofit organization focused on active conservation of all 23 miles of the American River Parkway (Parkway). Through managing programs like volunteer clean-ups, infrastructure improvements, trail maintenance, fire mitigation and education, the Parkway Foundation leads and inspires the community to conserve and nurture the Parkway as a unique, accessible resource for everyone to enjoy. Learn more at www.ARPF.org.

 

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Information for Sac County Parkway Ordinance

 

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will vote on a Parkway Ordinance on August 10 at 2 p.m.

 

If passed, the ordinance will toughen restrictions and consequences of actions on the Parkway, including illegal camping, open flames, use of generators and combustible liquids, construction and maintenance of structures, and modifications to the land.

 

Read more about the ordinance.

 

The Parkway Foundation supports this measure as one part of the solution to addressing the humanitarian and environmental crises on the Parkway. However, this ordinance won’t be effective without the other essential element: ensuring there is shelter and wrap-around services for the unhoused in the County, especially those living on the Parkway.

 

We urge you to also show your support in at least one of the below ways:

  • Attend the Board meeting at 700 H Street in Downtown Sacramento and participate in public comment.
  • Call into the meeting at (916) 875-2500 and make a public comment.
  • Send an email to and/or call your Supervisor. Templates can be found here.

 

Even if the ordinance is approved, the Parkway Foundation will continue to work with the County on addressing homelessness.

 

Thank you for learning more about getting involved. Let us know if you have any questions.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SACRAMENTO COUNTY SUPERVISORS

Supervisor Don Notolli, Sacramento County District 5 – Chair

Supervisor Richard Desmond, Sacramento County District 3 – Vice Chair

Supervisor Phil Serna, Sacramento County District 1

Supervisor Patrick Kennedy, Sacramento County District 2

Supervisor Sue Frost, Sacramento County District 4

 

CC on the email: BoardClerk@saccounty.net

 

Faces of the Parkway

Whether it’s through recreation, relaxation or nature, there are a lot of faces that can be found on the American River Parkway.

#FacesOfTheParkway explores the faces that you can see when you are out exploring our urban jewel.

Check this page and social media for regular updates.

 

        

Bicyclists

The Parkway is a haven for all bicyclists, from those out for a casual ride to commuters to distance riders.

The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail stretches through all 23 miles of the Parkway and into the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area for a total of 32 miles. For those looking for a longer ride, the Trail connects to the Sacramento River Bike Trail at one end and the Johnny Cash Trail at the other.

It’s recreational opportunities like these that make the Lower American River a National Wild and Scenic River.

We like to celebrate bicycling on the Parkway every year with our Ride the Parkway event, taking place this year on October 22. This event features a casual ride with stops at different vendors for snacks along the way and ends at William B. Pond Recreation Area with barbecue, libations and live music. (Not into cycling, you can come just for the barbecue!)

Take advantage of Early Bird Pricing. Learn more about Ride the Parkway.

 

        

Snakes

The most commonly known snakes on the American River Parkway are rattlesnakes, but you will also find gopher snakes, king snakes and garter snakes.

Some things to know about snakes on the Parkway:

  • Rattlesnakes are the only poisonous snake on the Parkway. They can be identified by the rattles on their tails and their spade-shaped heads. They can also hiss.
  • Gopher snakes have similar markings as rattlesnakes. However, they are skinnier, grow to be larger than rattlesnakes and are not poisonous.
  • Most hatchlings emerge during the late summer, early fall (July-October).
  • Snakes can swim.
  • California King Snakes do eat rattlesnakes.

Visit for more information on identifying rattlesnakes and what to do in the event of a bite.

 

               

River Otters

Since our team spotted five river otters playfully swimming in the Arden Rapids yesterday, we decided to highlight them today in #FacesOfTheParkway.

River otters are playful and social creatures that live throughout the American River Parkway. Though they are often spotted in the river, they actually spend about two-thirds of their time on land.

They’re also excellent runners reaching speeds of 15 miles-per-hour and can slide on mud and snow even faster.

When they are in the water, river otters can dive as deep as 60 feet and stay under for up to eight minutes. They do this by closing their nostrils to keep water out.

Don’t mistake river otters for sea otters. River otters are smaller, spend more time on land and don’t float belly-up like sea otters do.

 

               

Painters on the Parkway

A diversity of landscape, plant life and wildlife combined with the beauty of the American River makes the Parkway an ideal location for local artists to escape to for creativity. It’s no wonder the Parkway is called our Urban Jewel.

 

               

American River Parkway Foundation Mile Stewards

American River Parkway Foundation Volunteer Mile Stewards are our eyes and ears on the ground. They dedicate a minimum amount of hours per quarter to conserving their mile by helping to remove trash and graffiti, organizing group clean-up efforts and filing condition reports.

The Tzu Chi Foundation has been a Volunteer Mile Steward for Mile 9N for nine years and see it as part of their mission to serve the community. Nancy Ku represents the Tzu Chi Foundation.

See Nancy’s video.

 

                 

Scouting on the American River Parkway

Lauren Schilling is not afraid to take on a challenge. When it comes to scouting, for her it was earning the highest awards in both Scouts (Eagle Scout) and Girl Scouts (Gold Award).

She turned to the American River Parkway and the American River Parkway Foundation for both projects to achieve those awards.

For her Eagle Scout, she mapped out and replaced trail signs along the hiking/equestrian trail.

For her Gold Award, she developed a PSA explaining how to use the equestrian/hiking trail.

Lauren is not the only Scout to conduct her projects on the Parkway. It has been and will continue to be a resource Scouts can turn to. We’ll be here to help.

See Lauren’s video.

 

            

Coyotes on the American River Parkway

Coyotes are extremely curious animals and enjoy watching life go by on the American River Parkway. Most of the time they will keep their distance. But if you have a dog, coyotes may get a little closer and even “bluff” charge if you’re in their territory or near their dens or pups.

Learn more about coyotes along the Parkway and how you can help keep them wild.

 

          

Black-tailed Deer on the American River Parkway

Black-tailed deer are a common sight throughout the full 23-mile stretch of the Parkway. They’re part of the mule deer family and are recognized by their tails that have black or dark brown on top and white underneath.

Mating season usually occurs in November or December with fawns arriving in June-July. After birth, does and fawns join with others to form family groups while bucks form bachelor groups.

A fun fact about black-tailed deer is that their coats change colors throughout the year: in the summer they’re reddish-brown and in the winter they become brownish-gray.

 

     

On Water Recreationists on the American River Parkway

With the temperatures warming up, many Parkway users will escape to the water for on water activities. The Parkway is a great place for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and boating.

But if you’re hitting the water, make sure to wear a life vest. Cold water temperatures and underwater currents can make the calmest waters more dangerous than they appear.

 

    

Runners on the American River Parkway

Hundreds of runners every day come to the Parkway to utilize the 23-miles of paved, multiuse trail as well as the 30-miles of unpaved trail. This includes everything from novices to Olympic runners like Sacramento native Kim Conley (learn more about the role the Parkway plays in her story).

It’s because of the recreational opportunities like running that the Lower American River is recognized as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.

 

American River Parkway Foundation Invasive Plant Management Program Volunteers

Invasive plants are a real threat to the Parkway. They outcompete native plants, reduce food for wildlife and increase fire danger.

Through our Invasive Plant Management Program, our volunteers remove over 30,000 plants every year.

During events, volunteers use specialized equipment to remove French broom, Scottish broom, Spanish broom, red sesbania, yellow star thistle, stinkwort and more. Doing this allows our natural systems to flourish and prevents the loss of vital resources.

Learn more about our Invasive Plant Management Program

 

American River Parkway Foundation Clean-Up Volunteers

Parkway Foundation volunteers are vital to our efforts to conserve the Parkway. Every year, thousands of them dedicate some of their free time to removing trash and debris.

On average more than 130,000 pounds of trash are removed from the Parkway annually through our clean-up program.

Clean-ups are essential to the Parkway because they reduce blight and decrease the amount of pollution that ends up in our rivers and ecosystems. This is an issue that has grown as more illegal campers make their way to the Parkway.

Clean-ups are also great opportunities for team building and family bonding as well as to collect community service hours.

Above are just some of the faces from our clean-ups this year.

You can participate by signing-up for our larger clean-ups (Spring Clean-Up and the Great American River Clean-Up) or our monthly Sustainable Saturday Clean-Ups. We can also work with you to form your own group clean-ups, which take place throughout the year along the full 23-miles of the Parkway.

Learn more about our Clean-Ups

American River Parkway Foundation Responds to the Low Data Present in the Latest Point in Time Count

Locations chosen for counting do not reveal the whole crisis on the American River Parkway 

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The latest data from the Point in Time Count (PIT Count) does not show the true picture of the homelessness crisis on the American River Parkway (Parkway), according to the American River Parkway Foundation (Parkway Foundation). Seven sites on the Parkway were surveyed, resulting in only 594 illegal campers being included in the PIT Count. All of those were along the portion of the Parkway that runs through the City of Sacramento. 

 

“The American River Parkway is ground zero for the homelessness crisis in Sacramento County. Even such a small sample size shows the large percentage of unhoused individuals that are illegally camping in the Parkway,” said Dustin Luton, president of the Parkway Foundation Board of Directors. “Imagine what the count would have showed if the whole Parkway had been included.” 

 

The Parkway stretches 23 miles from the confluence with the Sacramento River up to the Nimbus Dam. Less than 10 miles of the Parkway runs through the City of Sacramento. 

 

Impacts of illegal camping on the Parkway are evident by the number of fires that have occurred near encampments this year, including the 22-acre fire near Campus Commons, the 5-acre fire that threatened homes in Carmichael, another 5-acre fire that threatened homes near Guy West Bridge and, just yesterday, a 16-acre fire in River Bend Park. Other environmental impacts include soil compaction, environmental pollution and disturbance of wildlife habitat. 

 

“Thanks to the efforts of volunteers that are on the Parkway on a regular basis, including our Mile Stewards, we have been able to track the illegal camp sites on the Parkway and determine the areas of high concentration,” said Dianna Poggetto, executive director of the Parkway Foundation. “We recognize the difficulty that can be present with gathering enough volunteers for an effort like the Point in Time Count. We want to bring awareness to the fact that this issue is much greater than these numbers show, which is why it’s important our leaders take action now.” 

 

The Parkway Foundation formed the Voice of the Parkway Coalition to help Sacramento County address the homelessness crisis. This includes working with business leaders – like Five Star Bank – to help find land for shelters. The Voice of the Parkway Coalition also mobilizes concerned community members to urge local leaders and municipal employees to develop an overall homeless plan that includes social services and clear goals and timelines.  

 

More details about the Voice of the Parkway Coalition can be found at www.ARPF.org/VoiceOfTheParkway. 

 

About the American River Parkway Foundation 

The American River Parkway Foundation (Parkway Foundation) is the only nonprofit organization focused on active conservation of all 23 miles of the American River Parkway (Parkway). Through managing programs like volunteer clean-ups, infrastructure improvements, trail maintenance, fire mitigation and education, the Parkway Foundation leads and inspires the community to conserve and nurture the Parkway as a unique, accessible resource for everyone to enjoy. Learn more at www.ARPF.org. 

 

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Letter/Email Template and Call Script for Sac County Budget Ask

 

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will hold budget hearings on June 8, 9 and 10.

 

We are asking you to make your voice heard to push for more funding and a comprehensive plan that will help get unhoused individuals off the American River Parkway.

 

Latest estimates pin the homeless population in the County at more than 16,000, which is the result of inaction from local leaders. A plan with timelines and investment in additional resources will help decrease the number of illegal campers on the Parkway and return our local streets, parks, businesses and the Parkway to the community.

 

To help with the push, we ask you:

 

Thank you for learning more about getting involved. Let us know if you have any questions.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SACRAMENTO COUNTY SUPERVISORS

Supervisor Don Notolli, Sacramento County District 5 – Chair

Supervisor Richard Desmond, Sacramento County District 3 – Vice Chair

Supervisor Phil Serna, Sacramento County District 1

Supervisor Patrick Kennedy, Sacramento County District 2

Supervisor Sue Frost, Sacramento County District 4

 

CC on the email: BoardClerk@saccounty.net

Coyotes on the American River Parkway: Things to Know

Coyotes are common along the full 23-mile stretch of the American River Parkway. Here are a few things you need to know when it comes to interacting with them:

  • Though you may see a coyote at any time of the day, they are most active at dawn and dusk. If you do see one, do not approach it and enjoy it from a distance.
  • Coyotes are naturally curious and may follow or observe you from a distance. If a coyote gets too close, DO NOT RUN. Face the coyote and maintain eye contact. If a coyote gets aggressive, make loud noises and wave your arms. If this doesn’t work, throw rocks or sticks.
  • Most encounters with coyotes result from the presence of a pet dog. This can be because the coyote sees the dog as potential competition, or – in the case of smaller dogs – as a food source. This is one reason why it is important to keep your dog on a leash at all times while on the Parkway.
  • Keep small children and pets close if you see a coyote and do not leave them unattended while in coyote territory.
  • January through March is coyote mating season. You may see coyotes exhibit more territorial behavior during this time.
  • A coyote may “escort” your dog away from den/territory, food or pups during pup rearing season (Spring and Summer). It may also bluff charge your dog if it gets too close.
  • If a coyote is aggressive, report the incident to Park Rangers by calling 3-1-1.

Learn more about coyotes and how you can help keep them wild from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Rattlesnake Encounters on the American River Parkway: How to Avoid Them and What to Do in the Event of a Bite

Rattlesnakes are found on the American River Parkway. As the weather heats up, they will become more active, including at night when they may be hard to see.

Fortunately, rattlesnake bites are rare and mostly occur during improper handling of a snake or when they’re brushed against by someone walking or climbing.

Here are some tips from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on how you can avoid a rattlesnake bite:

  • Stay alert when outdoors.
  • Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants. DO NOT wear sandals or flip-flops in brushy areas.
  • Stay on well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds, and heavy underbrush.
  • Check rocks, stumps or logs before sitting down.
  • Shake out sleeping bag and tent before use.
  • Let others know where you are going, when you plan to return, and carry a cell phone. Hike with a companion when possible.
  • DO NOT grab “sticks” in water. Rattlesnakes can swim.
  • DO NOT let dogs off leash. Dogs are at increased risk when sniffing the ground near brushy areas.
  • DO NOT try to touch or handle a snake, dead or alive. Dead rattlers may still inject venom shortly after death.
  • Give live rattlesnakes enough space. They will usually escape before striking.

In the event of a rattlesnake bite, here is what you should do:

  • Stay calm – but act quickly!
  • Remove items which may constrict swelling (e.g., watches, rings, shoes).
  • Transport victim to the nearest medical facility.
    • Do NOT apply a tourniquet.
    • Do NOT pack the bite area in ice.
    • Do NOT cut the wound with a knife or razor.
    • Do NOT use your mouth to suck out the venom.
  • If a pet is bitten – Speak to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccine options.

Learn more about rattlesnakes, the importance of their conservation and how they behave at California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

 

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