After years of debate, off-road bicycling could finally be allowed on the American River Parkway near Woodlake and Cal Expo under a 3-year pilot program to be implemented by Sacramento County Parks.
The program would create new recreational bicycling opportunities for residents of North Sacramento, Arden Arcade and nearby neighborhoods.
By bringing more activity into this part of the Parkway, the program could also help discourage the illegal activities that make the area feel dangerous to many recreational and commuter bicyclists and other visitors.
Off-road bicycling would be allowed between Del Paso Blvd. to Ethan Way on the north side of the American River. Off-road riding would be limited to existing unpaved fire roads and maintenance roads in that area, and continue to be prohibited on existing equestrian trails. No new trails would be built as part of the program.
The pilot will allow Sacramento County Parks to measure impacts as the way determine whether off-road bicycling could be allowed in other areas of the Parkway. Off-road bicycling is already allowed upstream from Hazel Ave., where the Parkway is managed by California State Parks.
A citizen advisory group developed the pilot program in 2008 as part of the American River Parkway Plan, which covers management of the Parkway between Discovery Park and Hazel Ave. Sacramento County and the cities of Sacramento and Rancho Cordova adopted the plan in 2008. Local advocate Bob Horowitz deserves huge credit and thanks for spearheading this project since then.
On Feb. 19, 2016, Sacramento County’s American River Parkway Advisory Committee hosted the first of several public workshops to gather feedback and ideas for the implementation plan. Dozens of local advocates for off-road bicycling reviewed maps and commented on staff recommendations for managing trails during wet weather, protecting sensitive habitat, and minimizing potential conflicts with other Parkway users.
Sacramento County Parks staff estimates that costs for the program will be minimal and have very little impact on Parkway operations, as ranger patrols, restrooms, trash collection and signage are already provided or budgeted for that area.
After concluding public workshops, County Parks staff will make recommendations for implementing the pilot program to the American River Parkway Advisory Committee (SABA has a seat on this committee), which will vote on the implementation plan. The Sacramento County Parks & Recreation Commission and Board of Supervisors will also be asked to approve the plan.