After 13 Years, California Is Getting a New State Park

Dos Rios Ranch Preserve will be the state's 280th park

Winding river in Dos Rios Ranch Preserve with wild grasses on either side

Courtesy of River Partners

Ten miles outside the city of Modesto, at the meeting point of two rivers, there's a stretch of land where you can see what California wilderness looked like 200 years ago. And those 2,100 acres of carefully restored floodplains are set to become a brand new state park. After 10 years of intense restoration work by River Partners, costing around $40 million, the former dairy farm now called Dos Rios Ranch Preserve is a budget approval away from state park status.

If the state budget is approved, which includes $5 million for the park's development, Dos Rios will become the 280th state park in California and the first new state park in 13 years. While California has the largest and most diverse state park system in the country (and one of the largest in the world), a vast majority are located along the coast or in mountains while more inland regions, like the Central Valley, are overlooked.

The formation of a new state park at Dos Rios Ranch will increase outdoor access for those regions. "... Many people in the Central Valley don't get to experience … its really incredible and local natural beauty," State Parks Director Armando Quintero told the Modesto Bee.

Conservation group River Partners is also excited about the proposed state park. "Turning this property into a state park gives the people of California this tremendous recreational asset where none exists right now, in a location that can't be matched," said Julie Renter, the president of River Partners, to CNN.

Aerial view of green trees and grasses in a flood plain with a river going through it

Courtesy of River Partners

The group planted 280,000 native trees and restored endangered and threatened species habitats like the Aleutian cackling goose and Central Valley Chinook salmon. The restored floodplains also have a significant positive impact on the people in the area, acting as a dispersal point for floodwaters, improving drinking water quality, and providing materials for indigenous communities.

The public could have access as early as 2023, but it will be a few years before the ranch is a full-fledged state park. “We have to do an archaeological survey and ensure we’re not disturbing any Native American sites or anything like that,” Quintero told the Los Angeles Times. Basic facilities like trails and restrooms are expected within five years, with campgrounds taking another five, according to reporting by the Modesto Bee. Surrounding residents will have to opportunity to vote on a new name for the park.

Article Sources
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  1. River Partners. "Dos Rios Ranch Preserve Eyed To Become California's Newest State Park." May 25, 2022.

  2. Modesto Bee. "A new state park in Stanislaus County? Newsom proposes $5 million for this location." May 17, 2022.

  3. CNN. "California Is Set to Get Its First New State Park in Over a Decade." May 21, 2022.

  4. River Partners. "Dos Rios Ranch Preserve." Accessed May 26, 2022.

  5. River Partners. "Healthy Rivers for a Thriving State." July 8, 2021.

  6. Los Angeles Times. "‘A Walk Back In Time’: Where Two Rivers Join, California Will Get a New State Park." May 16, 2022.