“This is out of sight, out of mind,” said Dianna Poggetto, executive director of the American River Parkway Foundation, which oversees its programs, promotion and much of its upkeep.
This has been particularly difficult work as homelessness here has expanded, and since February, when Emma Roark’s body was found within its boundaries. Public fear has grown.
In March 2021, a coordinated volunteer cleanup effort filled seven dump trucks with trash, a total of three tons in three hours. Safe needle disposal boxes regularly overflow, the contents at times sticking cleanup volunteers.
Hundreds of fires, mostly small ones, break out along its length each year from the camps. A bill introduced earlier this month at the Capitol would make it easier for local governments to clear parks such as this one.
“If not for county maintenance and foundation volunteers, we’d be standing in a landfill,” Poggetto said. “Why would you want to see one of the great amenities of Sacramento destroyed?”