South Fork American River Trail Nears Completion

American River Conservancy protects landImagine being able to travel on foot, bicycle or horse from the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area all the way to the rural beauty of the South Fork American River in the Coloma-Lotus Valley. Imagine doing so on a trail dedicated to recreation and the enjoyment of oak woodlands, conifer, chaparral, and the riverside.

That long-held hope is now on its way to being a reality. The final land parcel that completes the 20-mile route (see a PDF map) was sold by a couple who decided to protect its natural habitat for the public to enjoy. Funds that purchased it were provided by the State Wildlife Conservation Board, the State Resources Agency’s River Parkways Grant Program, and over 400 private donors. All this, plus the work that had been done on the rest of the trail route, was coordinated by the American River Conservancy (ARC).

The 20-mile trail has been 20 years in the making. Its completion is a source of great excitement for those who have been hoping and working for it since 1989, as well as the many who have come along since then and enjoy the prospect of traveling so far in the richness of nature in their own back yards.

Funds are still needed to bring the trail into reality. The ARC estimates it will cost $175K to complete trail construction and provide a few pedestrian bridges at stream crossings and interpretive signage at the trailheads. The official ribbon cutting is planned for the late spring of 2010. Contributions to the South Fork American River Trail Campaign can be sent to: The American River Conservancy, P.O. Box 562, Coloma, CA. 95613. For further information regarding trail project donations, please contact: David Morrill, ARC Marketing and Development Director at (530) 621-1224.

The completion of the South Fork American River Trail brings an even greater dream closer to reality. With regional coordination, it could become a key segment within a larger regional trail that would span the approximately 50 miles from downtown Sacramento (Sutter’s Fort) to Coloma (Sutter’s Mill). Parcel by parcel, this dream is moving to reality.