This Scenic River Junction Is About to Become California’s Newest State Park

If the plan is approved, Dos Rios Ranch in the San Joaquin Valley will be California’s first new state park in 13 years.

This Scenic River Junction Is About to Become California’s Newest State Park

The outdoor area is in “a park-poor region”—the San Joaquin Valley—and will help address inequities in access to public recreation sites.

Courtesy of River Partners

California Governor Gavin Newsom last week set aside $5 million to acquire Dos Rios Ranch, former farmland in the San Joaquin Valley that is now slated to become California’s 280th state park and first new state park in 13 years.

Situated at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers 17 miles outside of Modesto (which is about 90 minutes east of San Francisco), the 2,100 acres of floodplains have been restored to a flourishing green space dotted by willow trees and oaks, a project that has been spearheaded by the nonprofit conservation group River Partners—part of a larger effort to protect and preserve the area’s wildlife.

According to River Partners, Dos Rios is one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in California and a prime example of “green infrastructure that lowers flood risk and brings life back to the San Joaquin Valley to protect endangered species.”

After more than a decade of investment and work, the site is now a thriving ecosystem for species that include brush rabbits, woodrats, hawks, Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, yellow warblers, sandhill cranes, and neotropical migratory songbirds, River Partners reports.

If Governor Newsom’s budget proposal (which is for the fiscal year starting July 1) is approved, Dos Rios Ranch will be donated by River Partners and will be integrated into California’s state park system.

The property will serve “a park-poor region”—the San Joaquin Valley—and help address inequities in access to state recreation sites, said state parks director Armando Quintero. He added, “Everyone deserves to have close access to vibrant parks, and this opportunity is an exciting one.”

Once it is officially a state park, Dos Rios could see the addition of hiking and nature trails, picnic areas, restrooms, and campgrounds within the next several years.

Associated Press contributed reporting.

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Michelle Baran is the senior travel news editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, pandemic coverage, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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