The San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust, Inc. (River Parkway Trust), a 501(c) 3 non-profit, public benefit corporation, was created in 1988 to establish a continuous greenway along 33 miles of river in the rapidly urbanizing Fresno-Madera region. In partnership with state and federal agencies and local governments, the River Parkway Trust has been successful in protecting land through fee title acquisition and wildlife habitat restoration. In addition, the River Parkway Trust provides outdoor education programs for school children and recreational opportunities for the community.
Our current focus is on the 22-mile reach of the river between Friant Dam and Highway 99, which consists of approximately 6,000 acres of San Joaquin River bottomlands. This particular reach of the San Joaquin River has attained statewide significance through legislative action that created a state agency to oversee the San Joaquin River Parkway. In 1992, the state of California enacted the San Joaquin River Conservancy Act, finding that,
"...the San Joaquin River, its broad corridors, and its prominent
bluffs constitute a unique and important environmental, cultural,
scientific, agricultural, educational, recreational, scenic, flood
water conveyance, and wildlife resource that should be preserved
for the enjoyment of, and appreciation by, present and future
The planning for the Parkway actually began in 1985 when citizens expressed concern about rapid growth in the Fresno-Madera region and plans for development in the San Joaquin River bottomlands. In 1988, the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust was incorporated and initiated a formal planning process that produced the San Joaquin River Parkway and Environs Conceptual Plan (1989). Based on the findings in this plan, then-Assemblyman Jim Costa (now State Senator) gained approval to form a San Joaquin River Parkway Task Force (AB-3121), a group of 25 agencies and organizations that crafted the San Joaquin River Parkway Task Force Plan (1992). This plan endured environmental review and was adopted by the San Joaquin River Conservancy as the Interim San Joaquin River Parkway Master Plan (Parkway Plan) in December 1997.
Since its inception in 1988 years ago, the River Parkway Trust has evolved from its planning role to being a driving force in the Parkway Plan’s implementation. Please browse the links at left to learn more about the River Parkway Trust.