Who has not had the experience of being surprised to discover a little park or hiking trail near their home or along their drive to work they had never known was there? For more than 15 years I have lived within a mile of the San Francisco Bay. However it recently dawned on me that I had never actually spent any time on the water exploring this place where Central Valley Rivers and the Pacific Ocean ebb and flow. As a water-sport enthusiast I knew that I had to remedy this and began searching the internet for places to access the Bay from the urban landscape. To my surprise I found there were numerous tiny bay-side parks, some within minutes of my home where I could launch my kayak. These access points to the Bay have since become portals to a whole new world of opportunities for exploration, exercise, wildlife viewing, and relaxation.
This recent experience underscored for me the importance of informational resources that help us to discover the amazing recreational opportunities that California has to offer. For that reason, I am excited by the launch of the San Joaquin River Access Guide, available at SJRiver.org.
The San Joaquin River Access Guide is a website (also available as an app) dedicated to highlighting the numerous recreation opportunities that are available along the River, from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The Access Guide has something for everyone, whether you like to fish, camp, hike, bike, picnic or float downstream in a boat. These are just a few of the activities that the Access Guide will help people find and hopefully give local residents and tourists more reason to get to know this unique waterway.
Ensuring local communities in the Central Valley and visitors to the region can enjoy the river is one of the primary goals of the San Joaquin River Partnership and is the reason the website was created. And the need for rivers as a place to enjoy has never been greater. A recent report from the Center for Occupational & Environmental Health at UCLA highlighted how river parkways can help address many of today’s public health challenges by providing places for people to recreate, relax and spend time with friends and family (full report available here).
The San Joaquin is California’s second largest river and an important public resource that is undergoing a dramatic change. The San Joaquin River Restoration Program is making progress toward increasing river flows and restoring wildlife habitat. Efforts to revitalize the river are a positive catalyst for change and new opportunities to explore and enjoy the river are emerging. I hope the San Joaquin River Access Guide will serve as a portal for people from far and near to discover all the beauty and wonder the San Joaquin River has to offer.