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California to open first new state park in 13 years


MODESTO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 11: Julie RentnerPresident of River Partners, right, and Armando Quintero, director for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, stand next to the Tuolumne river as Rentner talks at a new park location in Modesto, Calif. on Wednesday, May, 11, 2022. The new park located on Dos Rios Ranch, will become the first new state park established anywhere in California since 2009. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

MODESTO — At a scenic spot where two rivers meet amid sprawling almond orchards and ranchlands between San Jose and Modesto, California’s state park system is about to get bigger.

On Friday, as part of his revised May budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom is scheduled to announce that the state is acquiring 2,100 acres near the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers to become a new state park — an area rich with wildlife and brimming with possibilities to reduce flood risk and restore some of California’s lost natural heritage.

The property in Stanislaus County, 40 miles east of San Jose and 10 miles west of Modesto, is known as Dos Rios Ranch. It will become the first new state park established since 2009, when the U.S. Army donated four miles of beaches in Monterey County to become Fort Ord Dunes State Park.

That 13-year gap in new parks is the longest since the state parks department was created in 1927.

“This will provide incredible public access,” said State Parks Director Armando Quintero as he toured Dos Rios Ranch on Wednesday, binoculars in hand. “People will be able to hike on trails, and fish and paddle the river.”

MODESTO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 11: Julie Rentner, president of River Partners, right, and Armando Quintero, director for the California Department of Parks and Recreation, stand next to the Tuolumne River as Rentner talks at a new park location near Modesto, Calif. on Wednesday, May, 11, 2022. The new park located on Dos Rios Ranch will become the first new state park established anywhere in California since 2009. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group) 

More than 68 million people a year visit California’s 279 state parks, a nationally renowned collection of spectacular beaches, ancient redwood forests and historic sites that include everything from the shores of Lake Tahoe to the summit of Mount Diablo and the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Environmental groups have lamented for years that former Gov. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to keep pace with the growing population’s need for new parks, particularly in low-income areas, as they underfunded the state parks system and attempted to close dozens of parks to balance the state budget.

Now as California enjoys budget surpluses, Newsom’s administration says it is trying to regain momentum.

In an editorial board meeting April 29 with the Bay Area News Group, Newsom cited $548 million in new state grants announced last December to boost city and county parks, many of which were flooded with people seeking exercise during COVID lockdowns, and a new program championed by his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, to allow people to check out free state parks passes in libraries.

“My mom was a rec director, and I was a big parks advocate as a supervisor and mayor, and I’m really proud of the work we are doing,” Newsom said. “We have a number of acquisitions that we are in advanced negotiations on.”

MODESTO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 11: The San Joaquin …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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