Fresno and Madera County leaders to work together on San Joaquin River access

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Highway 99 bridge over the San Joaquin River is the busiest route between Fresno and Madera Counties. But a nearly forgotten bridge crosses the river in a more pristine spot, south of the Lost Lake Park area. It's where developer Brent McCaffrey would like to connect the two counties with walking trails and other riverside amenities and provide public access through Ball Ranch and Ledger Island. "Our vision is to bring unrestricted public access to the San Joaquin River for all walks of life for all ages and to see this happen in the near immediate future.

McCaffrey says his company would like to connect its property along the river to the property owned by the San Joaquin River Conservancy in a partnership. It would also provide a link to McCaffrey's planned development above the river bluffs on the Madera County side. But McCaffrey says it would benefit everyone who wants to use the river. "I think it would be a plus for the entire region Fresno and Madera counties to have that opportunity. "

McCaffery presented the plan to a joint meeting of the Fresno and Madera County Boards of Supervisors on Tuesday. Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea notes both counties approved. "We directed both of our county staffs to work together with the conservancy to work on this project that would potentially create more open space but potentially provide a river crossing for the public."

The fate of the plan rests with the San Joaquin River Conservancy, a state agency which controls key parts of the river bottom and is working towards creating a linear park stretching from Highway 99 to Friant Dam. But both counties see working together as an important step toward improving access. null
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