The project came together around 2011 but delays and conflicts slowed the start of construction by 1-2 years. Meant to better establish Sutter's Landing Park as the city's gateway to the American River Parkway the project included less than a mile of paved bike trail, removal of invasive plants, establishment of native vegetation, creation of a defined staging area, plaques and more. The city still needs to construct a much needed restroom as grant match but landfill constraints, safety and maintenance concerns, and cost overruns have delayed it. Maybe next year.
The project is a compromise, at best, of the design and goals suggested by neighborhood groups and organizations but does meet the need for a basic gateway. Most of the people who attended the two community design workshops strongly objected to the idea of gabions, which now disappointingly fill the area. We hope that features that are missing or inadequate can be improved over time. Future phases should extend the bike trail eastward to Sac State, expand the size of Sutter's Landing Park and further improve adjacent areas of the American River Parkway. The recent establishment of a Lower American River Conservancy creates a means to continue and expand this type of work. Future phases will hopefully include acquisition of additional lands to the west of Sutter's Landing Park, relocation of buildings and other infrastructure away from the river and ultimately restoration and creation of more riparian/upland habitats and recreation opportunities to enjoy this unique resource.
Swallows, kestrels and other raptors were present to welcome us as always and to take in the scene today. The bright blue skies and wispy clouds welcomed all visitors. The numbers of visitors and impacts on the area have increased greatly since back when this project was envisioned. Today's visitors included a young man with a cat in a carrier on a skateboard, a drone flier, cyclocross participants and a number of other bike riders on gear able to travel in many areas not paved, dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, health and level of restraint. A young crew of Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps was on hand to maintain the area which is in good shape now. One nearby bike rider pushed a cart with camping gear while his partner had a stroller carrying a 5 gallon water bottle back to camp. Many joggers, walkers, birdwatchers, nature lovers, thrill seekers and other types of enthusiasts are seen regularly.
One thing is for sure. Sutter's Landing Park and the project site will receive much more use and wear by all in the months ahead this year and beyond. That includes many new and recent visitors and all they bring as they come out to enjoy this very special area.