Friends Plans to release Trail Map for the Ventura River Parkway

A workgroup comprised of members of Friends of the Ventura River has been working on the creation of a map of the Ventura River Parkway to identify spots of interest, outdoor hiking and biking opportunities, wildlife viewing sites and viewsheds for the benefit of residents and tourists alike.  The map will be printed in English and Spanish and will be ready for public distribution soon.

See article in the Ventura County Star.



Alpine County – Markleeville Creek Acquisition – $136,000

Acquire six acres to restore riparian habitat, re-establish historic floodplain and provide passive recreation in Markleeville.

Sarah Green, (530) 694-2327,

Amargosa Conservancy – Amargosa Wild and Scenic River Trail – $299,000

Restore over four miles of the historic Old Spanish Trail through the Amargosa River Canyon and create several connections to existing BLM trails; restore approximately 25 acres of habitat.

Katherine Boxer, executive director, (760) 852-4339,

American River Conservancy – Cosumnes River Parkway – $1,800,000

Acquire 2,566 acres of riparian habitat and blue oak woodland to protect native fisheries and wildlife corridors adjacent to the main fork of the Cosumnes River in El Dorado County.

Alan Ehrgott, executive director, (530) 295-2190,

Atascadero Land Preservation Society – Three Bridges Oak Preserve Trails and Signage – $302,500

Construct three miles of trail adjacent to Highway 41 in San Luis Obispo County for hiking and seasonal equestrian use that will connect to existing trails in the city of Atascadero and future trails in the Los Padres National Forest.

Bruce Bonifas, president, (805) 466-0526,

Bear Yuba Land Trust – Rice’s Crossing: Yuba River Acquisition – $1,900,000

Acquire the 2,706-acre Rice’s Crossing property immediately below New Bullards Bar Dam adjacent to Yuba River State Park to provide trails for public use and improve river health for salmon fisheries.

Marty Coleman-Hunt, executive director, (530) 272-5994,

Big Sur Land Trust – San Jose Creek Trail – $552,701

Construct nearly two miles of trail with creek crossings and interpretive signs along San Jose Creek to complete the southern coastal segment of the Carmel River Parkway; construct parking lot and develop picnic area.

Lana Weeks, director of community stewardship, (831) 886-7810 Ext 102,

Burbank (City) – Johnny Carson Park Creek Restoration and Revitalization – $1,780,000

Restore an existing 885-foot stormwater channel to a natural creek and create multi-story habitat (eight acres) with a one-half mile ADA accessible creek side loop trail.

Judie Wilke, park, recreation & community services director, (818) 238-5300,

California Trout – Hat Creek River Parkway – $658,629

Restore approximately six acres of habitat and construct a 1.5-mile accessible trail with amenities along Hat Creek in Shasta County to improve public access for recreational uses including hiking and fishing.

Andrew Braugh, (530) 926-3768,

Community Conservation Solutions – L.A. River Greenway Walking Trail – $751,863

Convert flood control district right-of-way into a one-half mile recreational trail along the Los Angeles River. Install vegetated bioswales and native vegetation to treat stormwater runoff; install interpretive signage.

Esther Feldman, president, (310) 398-8584,

Conservation Fund (The) – Mount Baldy Ranch Land Acquisition – $868,000

Acquire 237 acres along San Antonio Creek in the San Gabriel Mountains to protect wildlife corridors and riparian habitat and provide trail connections to adjacent public lands.

Scott Ferguson, director of Southern California programs, (949) 494-8034,

Glendale Community Services & Parks Department (City) – Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Project – Phase 2 – $975,000

Extend the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk recreational trail along the Los Angeles River east and south to the Verdugo Wash. The project includes a river overlook, a confluence park and interpretive elements.

Tom Lorenz, public information officer, (818) 937-8817,

Humboldt Fish Action Council – Powers Creek Parkway Connection Project – $199,903 Provide public access over Powers Creek to connect to main trail system; upgrade trails for multi-modal access; install interpretive kiosks and restore 1,500 linear feet of creek habitat to support endangered and threatened salmonid and aquatic populations.

Sarah Caldwell, project manager, (707) 822-5785,

Kern River Corridor Endowment – Panorama Vista Preserve Restoration Project – $1,044,275

Restore approximately 129 acres of riparian habitat and historical floodplain along the Kern River and install interpretive elements to highlight the resource and its conservation to enhance the public experience when visiting this preserve.

Carolyn Belli, (661) 872-3569,

Lakewood (City) – West San Gabriel River Parkway Phase 3 Development – $1,446,203

Restore 7.5 acres of riparian greenbelt trail; construct one-half mile of decomposed granite ADA trail, with trail heads; install California native plantings and interpretive signage.

John Buck, community services manager, (562) 866-9771 ext. 2405,

Oakdale (City) – Stanislaus River Valley View River Access Trail – $862,625

Convert 15.2 acres into a river parkway including a 750-foot, multiple switchback public access trail to the Stanislaus River in the city of Oakdale.

Pat Paul, mayor, (209) 845-3571,

Ontario (City) – Cucamonga Creek Trails & Riparian Restoration – $1,500,000

Restore 23 acres of riparian and upland habitat and add 3.5 miles of hiking/biking and equestrian trails with wildlife viewing areas along Cucamonga/Mill Creek.

Scott Murphy, assistant planning director, (909) 395-2419,

Rancho Simi Recreation & Park District – Arroyo Simi Greenway Project Phase 2 – $886,642

Construct nearly two miles of trail through the urban core as part of the 12-mile river parkway in Ventura County, and develop three new access points for pedestrians, bicycle commuters and recreational users.

Robin Walker, (805) 584-445,

Redlands (City) – Orange Blossom Trail – $899,911

Extend the Orange Blossom Trail nearly one mile along Zanja Creek, providing interpretive signage and safe crossings over city streets before the trail connects to the Santa Ana River Trail.

Carl Baker, public information officer, (909) 798-7633,

Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. – Ryan Creek Community Forest Project – $1,000,000

Acquire approximately 1,200 acres of timberland adjacent to Ryan Creek, establishing a Community Forest for the city of Eureka, which will practice sustainable timber management.

John Bernstein, (415) 800-5281,

Sacramento (City) – American River Parkway Enhancement at Sutter’s Landing Park – $1,479,502

Create a three-quarter mile multi-use trail with entry improvements to enhance public use; restore over three acres on the banks of the American River with native understory vegetation and provide interpretive signage.

Linda Tucker, public information officer, (916) 808-7523,

San Diego County – Tijuana River Valley Interpretive Trail Loop – $611,250

Create two trail sections, including trail heads and interpretive features and connectivity to existing trails within the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park.

Brian Albright, director, Department of Parks and Recreation, (858) 966-1301,

San Marcos (City) – San Marcos Creekside Promenade – $1,000,000

Construct nearly one mile multi-use trail combined with open space areas that meander along San Marcos Creek and restore over three acres of riparian habitat through re-vegetation of native flora and stormwater management practices.

Mike Edwards, city engineer, (760) 744-1050 ext. 3235,

Sequoia Riverlands Trust – Kaweah Oaks Preserve Acquisition $410,181

Acquire approximately 22 acres of riparian habitat adding approximately one-half mile of creek frontage along Deep Creek to the Kaweah Oaks Preserve in Tulare County.

Kelly Ryan, communications director, (559) 738-0211 ext. 105,

Sierra Fund (The) – Deer Creek Tribute Trail & Restoration Project (Acquisition) $739,111

Acquire approximately 32 acres of riparian habitat in Nevada County for the purpose of habitat restoration/enhancement and public access.

Elizabeth Martin, chief executive officer, (530) 265-8454 ext. 11,

Sierra Fund (The) – Deer Creek Tribute Trail & Restoration Project – $563,025

Construct approximately 2,000 linear feet of trail and bridge over Deer Creek, connecting existing segments of the Deer Creek Tribute Trail which is accessible from downtown Nevada City. Project includes riparian habitat restoration/management and interpretive signage.

Elizabeth Martin, chief executive officer, (530) 265-8454 ext 11,

Solano County Water Agency – Winters Putah Creek Channel Realignment Phase III – $1,162,640

Restore former sewage aeration ponds to create a river parkway; realign 1,100 feet of channel to natural meander form, restore functional channel width and capacity for salmon spawning habitat, grade five acres to functional floodplain elevation, connect upstream and downstream creek edge trails on both north and south banks; restore and enhance diversity of native vegetation.

Rich Marovich, stream keeper, (530) 902-1794,

Sonoma County Regional Parks – Mark West Creek Regional Park and Open Space Preserve – $1,000,000

Acquire 297 acres in the Mark West Creek watershed creating a 1,100-acre regional park and open space preserve providing hikers, cyclists and equestrians access to 20 miles of developed trails crossing grasslands, woodlands and creeks.

Caryl Hart, director, Sonoma County Regional Parks (707) 565-2041

Tahoe City Public Utility District – Truckee River Restoration and Access Project – $344,263

Create three formal access points to the Truckee River and the Truckee River Bike Trail along Highway 89, north of Tahoe City; restore degraded riparian habitat on riverbanks and wet meadows, create staging areas and install directional and interpretive signage.

Kelli Twomey, director of resource development and community relations, (530) 583-3796 ext. 21,

Town of Truckee – Truckee River Legacy Trail Phase 3B – $2,900,000

Construct approximately 1.5 miles of Class 1 bicycle/pedestrian trail, continuing the Truckee River Legacy Trail from the town of Truckee east just across Martis Creek where a trailhead will be constructed. The project will also install signage interpreting the natural and cultural resources of the Truckee River.

Tony Lashbrook, town manager, (530) 582-2901,

Trust for Public Land – North Fork American River – Big Bend Acquisition – $1,368,000

Acquire 460 acres known as the Big Bend Property which is bisected by the North Fork American River to protect habitat and wildlife corridors and improve public access to the river.

Carl Somers, associate director Northern California, (415) 800-5287,

Waterford (City) – Tuolumne River Parkway Project – $1,478,340

Construct a two-mile multi-use riverfront trail with visitor amenities along the north side of the Tuolumne River in Stanislaus County. The project will also protect and restore the riparian corridor, and stabilize the riverbank.

Tim Ogden, city manager, (209) 874- 2328 ext .103, Watershed

Conservation Authority – Duck Farm Riparian Habitat and Interpretive Elements – $1,400,000

Develop 31 acres located on the eastern bank of the San Gabriel River into an urban greenway. Project includes wetlands, overlook, and a 1.5-mile meadow-lined trail with interpretive stations.

Mark Stanley, executive officer, (626) 815-1019 ext. 100,

Yuba City – Feather River Parkway – Willow Island Project Phase II – $1,743,000

Convert 84 acres into a park along the Feather River, preserve 10 acres of woodland oak and extend approximately two miles of trails; restore and enhance more than two acres of wetlands.

Brad McIntire, parks and recreation director, (530) 822-4652,

Friends Meeting Agenda: January 29, 2013

Sign in sheet / Brief round table introductions (Welcome Darcel Elliot new Field Rep Das Williams’ Office)

Old Business:

1. Paul Jenkin Will Start Off a Recap of All that FOVR and Coalition Members Accomplished in 2012

2. Lee Sherman/ Derek Poultney of Ventura Hillside Conservancy Update VHC 2012/2013

3. Greg Gamble Ojai Valley Land Conservancy Update OVLC 2012/2013 Progress

4. Update on City of Ventura River Clean-Up Efforts in 2012/2013

5. Steve Offerman (Supervisor Bennett’s Office) San Antonio Bridge Bike Path Crossing Completion and County’s Arundo Removal & Homeless Aid Efforts

New Business:

1. Patrick Johnson showNPS-RTCA work group progress on new fold-out Parkway Promotional Map (Patrick Johnston, Cynthia Hartley and members of the FOVR NPS-RTCA work group have done some great work.)

  • Explain concept
  • Show map
  • Get Group Input

2. Discuss if 4th Tuesday of Month is still viable meeting day for FOVR Meeting

Other business or announcements

Next meeting date

Adjournment no later than 6:45p.  Thank you everyone for staying involved!


From the SOAR Summer 2012 Newsletter

Waterway Befriended…

Ventura River Gains Powerful Allies

Like the Sespe Wilderness and the Santa Clara River, the Ventura River boasts a passionate and organized advocate in the newly invigorated Friends of the Ventura River.

Building on a successful effort to halt major development plans for the Canada Larga Valley in 2010, the broad coalition of community groups (including SOAR), businesses, and government agencies is actively working to support restoration and permanent protection of the Ventura River waterway as a functioning ecosystem and as publicly accessible open space.

Stretching from headwaters in the Santa Ynez Mountains through the Ojai Valley and down to the sea along Ventura’s western flank, the Ventura River is home to a multitude of native plants and wildlife including the endangered steelhead trout.  The river is dammed in multiple places but is nevertheless one of the last remaining wild coastal rivers in Southern California.  To learn more and get involved visit


Ventura County Supervisors vote to support VRP Concept

Success! This morning the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted to approve Supervisor Bennett’s policy proposals. The vote was 4-1 to officially support the Ventura River Parkway Concept and to streamline the process for creating conservation easements.

Diane Underhill spoke for Friends of the Ventura River and Lee Sherman spoke for the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy to emphasize both groups’ support for the Parkway.

Diane spoke to the benefits we reap from such a significant project, both environmental and economic.  Lee spoke to the Conservancy’s land ownership in the river bottom, our ‘Reconnecting with the River’ community event at the river on June 9, challenges we face and how a parkway will be a large part of the solution.

Kevin Clerici spoke on behalf of the Downtown Ventura Vendors Organization in support of the benefits that downtown vendors would see from an increase in tourism that a Ventura River Parkway would bring to our community.

Others spoke as individual residents in support of  Supervisor Bennett’s proposals.

Thank you to all who communicated support to the Board of Supervisors!

Ventura River Parkway: July 31, 2012, Board of Supervisors Agenda Item

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at the Board of Supervisors Meeting, Supervisor Steve Bennett will introduce a recommendation in support of the Ventura River Parkway.

The recommended policy will be presented at 10:00 AM, Item 21:

21. Recommendation of Supervisor Bennett to Adopt a Policy Position of Conceptual Support for the Creation of a Ventura River Parkway; and Direct the County Executive Officer to Streamline the Processing of Conservation Subdivision Applications.
(Supervisor Bennett – 15 Minutes) 

Supervisor Bennett will also recommend review of the county’s steps for creating conservation subdivisions with the goal of streamlining the process to make it easier for property owners to create conservation parcels.

If possible, please plan to attend this meeting to show your support for the Ventura River Parkway and Supervisor Bennett’s recommendations.



Friends Meeting Agenda July 24, 2012


TUESDAY July 24, 2012


from 4:30-6:30 pm


Sign in sheet / Brief round table introductions

Old Business:

1. De-briefing & slide show from two recent parkway roll-out events:

  • June 9 Community Parkway Roll-out Event Picnic
  • July 18 Formal Presentation TPL/CCC/Studio 606 hosted by Supervisor Bennett


New Business:

1. Update on recent discussions regarding Matilija Dam

2. Update on NPS-RTCA work group progress/ next steps

3. Discussion on County receiving Federal funds for levee work– what is impact to Ventura River levee

4. Discussion on next steps for Friends Coalition (now roll-out events behind us)

  • How can we best continue to promote the parkway
  • Discuss possible annual fund-raising event (like a “Parkway River Run”)
  • Explore how can each group might assist
  • Future volunteer opportunities (get dates of upcoming clean-ups or restoration projects on our calendars)

5. Other business or announcements

6. Next meeting date

Adjournment no later than 6:45   Thank you everyone for staying involved!

Ventura River Parkway Presentation

The formal Ventura River Parkway Roll-out Presentation Event was held on July 18, 2012 at the Hall of Administration County Board of Supervisors Chambers.

Supervisor Steve Bennett graciously hosted the presentations by Riti Dhesi of the Trust for Public Land,  Sam Jenniches of the California Coastal Conservancy, and Susan Mulley, a professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture 606 Studio at Cal Poly Pomona whose students created the Ventura River Parkway Vision Plan.

The panel discussion after the formal presentation included updates from organizations currently holding land in the river and working actively to restore habitat and provide public access.

Paul Jenkin from Friends of the Ventura River spoke about current opportunities, the broad coalition which comprises the Friends group and the momentum that Friends has achieved in the last year.  He acknowledged that these large projects take years and perhaps decades to bring to fruition, and mentioned Matilija Dam as an example.  The benefits to be gained are worth the time and effort required.

Greg Gamble, Director of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) outlined OVLC’s progress over the years in restoring river properties the Ojai Meadows Preserve, the Ventura River Preserve and the Ventura River Confluence Preserve.  Greg  emphasized what everyone in the land conservancy movement knows, that land conservancies work with landowners to obtain the best outcomes for all.  Conservancies work only with willing landowners who wish to sell or donate land.

Derek Poultney with the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) spoke about the progress that VHC has made in land acquisition in the river area in the last couple years and the work that volunteers have contributed to clearing non-native species from those properties.   The donation to VHC of the Willoughby property between the Main Street and 101 bridges is soon to be complete and volunteers have already begun to work to remove arundo.  A recent article in the VC Star, previously posted on this blog, featured a work day on this property.

Patrick Johnson of the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program outlined his participation with a Friends of the Ventura River working group to assist in the design of trails and trail heads, signage and gathering areas at the river.

Rich Rozzelle of California State Parks, who was instrumental in reopening McGrath State Beach, briefly outlined State Parks’ role and support for the benefits a parkway would bring to the community in better connectivity to Emma Wood State Beach and enhanced recreational opportunities in our area.

Attendees included interested residents from Ojai to Oxnard, landowners and their representatives, farmers and their representatives,  members of Ventura City Council, city and county planning staff, Ventura County Watershed Protection staff, Watersheds Council of Ventura County, local engineers and planners and many others.

All speakers emphasized the need for perseverance and political will from all parties to make such a large project a success.  Sam Jenniches’s presentation gave attendees inspiration with his ‘before and after’ images of rivers that had been restored after prior damaging uses and abandonment.

We have many years of work ahead, but have made incredible progress in the last few years which gives us impetus to move the Ventura River Parkway effort forward.


High Trestle Trail, Ankeny, Iowa

This photo finds my cousins (photo permission obtained) enjoying a bike ride on an incredible trail outside of Des Moines,  Iowa.  Note the interpretive signs behind them and the meandering Des Moines River.

Read more:   the High Trestle Trail.

Years ago construction of Highway 33 abruptly cut the City of Ventura off from the Ventura River, leading to loss of public enjoyment of the river and decades of neglect of the wonderful resource that is the Ventura River.

The goal of the Ventura River Parkway Vision Plan is to bring back long lost recreational opportunities to our river area, while restoring habitat and improving water quality.

Regaining convenient access to the river is a component of the Parkway plan so that residents of Ventura and the entire region may enjoy the type of outdoor experience captured in this photo.