All posts by admin

New $22M Highway 49 bridge good for rafts as well as cars

Caltrans marked the start of construction on a new bridge on Highway 49 at Coloma on Thursday.

A groundbreaking ceremony signaled a start on a $22 million project designed to bring the crossing over the south fork of the American River up to current seismic standards while providing safer access for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The new bridge in the Lotus-Coloma area will replace the existing 62-year-old structure. Previous Caltrans reports had pegged the age of the bridge at 66.

The project will include seismic upgrades, 8-foot shoulders and new sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The project also includes new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and retaining walls.

“This project aligns with Caltrans’ goals to provide a safe transportation system that also improves mobility,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “Now that the piers of the new bridge are on land versus being in the water, this new bridge will not only allow for safer travel by pedestrians and bicyclists, but it will also make it easier for rafters in the river below.”

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>

Volunteers come together to tackle canyon cleanup

A hardy group of volunteers gathered at the American River confluence bright and early on Saturday morning with the goal of helping to spruce up the canyon and river areas.

   Earth Day, which began in 1970, is now celebrated in more than 190 countries worldwide. It has been celebrated for 19 years in Auburn, with many like-minded individuals coming together on this day to be involved in recognizing Earth Day 2017.

   Organized locally by Protect American River Canyons (PARC), Auburn State Recreation Area and Canyon Keepers, there were numerous tasks for the volunteers to tackle. Volunteers eagerly showed up with gloves and were loaned trash pickers, pruning shears and large plastic bags.

   After a safety talk by Auburn State Recreation Area Supervising Ranger Scott Liske, trash pickup was targeted on the Quarry Trail, No Hands Bridge Trail, Lake Clementine Trail, the Confluence Trail, Stagecoach Trail and along Foresthill Road near Mammoth Bar.

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>

Three county supervisors appointed to Lower American River Parkway Conservancy

Sacramento County supervisors appointed three of their own to the advisory committee for the Lower American River Conservancy Program on Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint supervisors Phil Serna, Susan Peters and Don Nottoli to the committee, with the goal of protecting the parkway, often called the “jewel of Sacramento,” and promoting recreational opportunities.

The American River Parkway is an urban greenbelt that provides flood control and wildlife habitat and protects water quality, along with biking and walking trails.

“Overall the American River Parkway is one of the best amenities in the region,” said Dianna Poggetto, executive director of the American River Parkway Foundation. “It’s considered a blueprint for all the greenbelts in the United States.”

The parkway attracts 8 million visitors annually, Poggetto said.

The Lower American River Conservancy Program was established in a bill authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Woman Plummets From California’s Highest Bridge During Ill-Advised Selfie Effort

A California woman was airlifted from beneath the state’s highest bridge this week, after she fell from the structure while attempting to take a poorly thought out selfie.

According to a Facebook post from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, on Tuesday the woman and “a group of her friends,” all of whom were from the Sacramento area, “were walking on the girders underneath the Foresthill Bridge in violation of Placer County Code 12.04.190 and Penal Code 602.”

The Foresthill Bridge, which is known by some as the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge or the Auburn Bridge, crosses the North Fork American River near the Sierra Nevada foothills. According to Highestbridges.com, at 730 feet high, it was the second highest bridge in the world when it opened in 1973, and remains the highest bridge in California and the fourth-highest bridge in the US.

During her alleged illegal jaunt across the bridge’s girders, police say that the woman “attempted to take a selfie and fell from the girders landing on the trail approximately 60 feet below.”

Remarkably, she didn’t die on impact, and was “life-flighted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and is expected to survive.” According to the SF Chronicle, it helped that she “landed on a path that was still close enough to the top of the bridge” as “no one would likely survive the fall to the bottom of the American River Canyon.”

More at SFist.com >>>

Crews Work to Clear American River Parkway Trail Following Stormy Winter

Weeks of unrelenting rain this winter damaged much of the dirt trail along the American River between Discovery Park and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

Maintenance crews have spent weeks clearing the area to give runners and horses their trail back, but it’s a lot of work.

Debris hangs on trees, branches block a dirt trail by the American River — a once clear path now a mess.

“I’ve been on a lot of trails, and I’ve never seen something as bad as this,” said Sabrina Lemar with AmeriCorps.

Storms slammed Sacramento for weeks this winter. As the rain fell, the American River rose. High water levels damaged the 30-mile stretch of equestrian and hiking trail between Discovery Park and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

More at FOX40.com >>>

Pile of driftwood around Folsom Lake catches fire

A pile of driftwood caught fire Sunday morning at Folsom Lake, the South Placer Fire District said.

Firefighters responded to the lake in Granite Bay during the early-morning hours and were able to extinguish the flames.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Large piles of driftwood and debris have collected along the lake’s shore, the Folsom Lake State Park officials said.

“Pretty much is a ring completely around the lake,” park superintendent Richard Preston said Thursday. “Came down from the reservoirs up above and some of the debris that’s been in the river systems for a number of years through the droughts, and it pretty much all just flushed down this year with large storms in January and February.”

More at KCRA.com >>>

Body recovered from American River in Sacramento

What started out for Sacramento fire search and rescue as a call for a water rescue in the American River, would turn into a recovery operation Sunday morning.

Calls started coming just after 9 a.m. Sunday. Sacramento police received calls of reports of a possible body in the river north of the terminal end of North 10th Street.

Police and fire crews arrived at the scene when they found the body. A death investigation has just begun, and it is unknown exactly how the person died, police said.

Police report nothing suspicious at this point.

From ABC10.com >>>

Folsom Lake surrounded by piles of debris

As boating season returns to Folsom Lake, those ready to set sail will have to get around an obstacle lining the lake shore and boat ramps.

That obstacle is a lakewide pileup of debris.

“Pretty much is a ring completely around the lake,” Folsom Lake State Park superintendent Richard Preston said. “Came down from the reservoirs up above and some of the debris that’s been in the river systems for a number of years through the droughts, and it pretty much all just flushed down this year with large storms in January and February.”

Some of the debris extends hundreds of yards from the lake shore, providing a reminder of just how much rain the area’s received this year and how much debris has come with it.

To clean it up, park officials plan to coordinate with the Bureau of Reclamation on a summertime plan to remove the debris. The process would likely be initiated around June after the lake level has peaked.

Part of that plan includes allowing the lake level to rise high enough for the dried out, dead driftwood to be pulled back into the lake.

More at KCRA.com >>>

Folsom’s Johnny Cash Trail to be completed in early fall

Construction of the second phase of Folsom’s Johnny Cash Trail begins this week at East Natoma Street and Folsom Prison Road and is scheduled for completion by early fall.

The current portion of the project includes 1.25 miles of Class I paved trail, an undercrossing beneath Folsom Prison Road allowing trail users to avoid motor vehicle traffic, and a 190-foot wooden arched bridge providing views of the American River and Lake Natoma, according to a city news release.

The project also includes a paved trail spur for Folsom prison employees between Natoma Street and the prison employee parking lot. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Folsom Prison Road during construction, although minor delays can be expected, according to the news release.

When this phase is completed, the Johnny Cash Trail will connect to an existing trail at Rodeo Park, providing runners, walkers and bicyclists a route to Folsom’s historic district and the American Parkway Trail.

Funding for the $3.23 million project comes from various federal grants and local transportation funds, according to the news release.

Like the first section of the trail, completed in 2014, this phase will be built by Westcon Construction Inc. The firm also built the Johnny Cash Bridge. Designed to resemble Folsom State Prison’s East Gate guard tower, which is featured in a photo of Cash taken before his 1968 Folsom prison concert, the bridge spans Folsom Lake Crossing Road.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Thanks to abundant snow, the West can expect a long, rollicking river rafting season

Chris Moore watched in awe this winter as the snow piled up on his multiple trips to Bear Valley Mountain Resort in the central Sierra.

“I’ve never seen a winter quite like this,” said Moore, California regional manager for O.A.R.S. rafting company.

“What all this snow means is it’s going to be a long and exciting whitewater season, so I’m stoked.

“We’re going to have big flows in the late spring and early summer and a more drawn-out whitewater season on rivers here in California.”

Moore’s enthusiasm is widespread among rafting outfitters up and down the state, some of whom are still recovering from the drought, which just two years ago saw April 1 snowpack measurements of 5% of normal throughout much of the Sierra.

This year, however, the snowpack is 140% of normal for the Northern Sierra and 169% of normal for the Central Sierra, according to the California Data Exchange Center.

Here’s how the season is shaping up.

The Middle, North and South forks of the American River, as well as the North Fork of the Stanislaus River will have high flows in May and June, moderating as the summer progresses.

“The South Fork of the American, which is normally a fun Class III river that’s great for even young kids, is not going to be the kind of stream you’d want to take your 6-year-old on around the start of the season” Moore said. “But it will mellow out, too, as the season unfolds.”

Because the water on the South Fork will be roaring early, O.A.R.S. will offer its one-day, “21-Miler” trips seven days a week from April through June.

These wild rides combine the upper Chili Bar section with the lower Gorge section. At lower flows, covering all 21 miles of the South Fork would make for a long day, but not this spring and early summer.

More at LATimes.com >>>