River access expands after local non-proft buys Sumner Peck Ranch

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The San Joaquin River is the longest in Central California and now residents have a chance to see a part of it up close.

"There are deer out on the property, all kinds of birds, great blue herons, great egrets. The other day, I was out here and there were five great egrets sitting up in a tree right behind me here, so you never know what you'll see when you're out along the river," said Sharon Weaver, San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust Exec. Director.

Shannon Weaver is the executive director of the River Parkway Trust.

They just acquired the Sumner Peck Ranch off Friant Road and its river-accessible property.

"This is kind of a lynchpin piece between that Ball Ranch and the Ledger Island property that is pictured behind me on the other side of the river. So we're really excited we have these 76 acres that links these two parcels together. So we now have a large swath of open space," Weaver said

The trust operates the river center on old Friant road, which has been popular during the pandemic.

Weaver says the greater goal of the non-profit is to create the San Joaquin River Parkway.

"The goal is to build a contiguous parkway from Friant Dam all the way out to Highway 99," Weaver said.

Working with state agencies, they've conserved about 4,000 of the 6,000 acres they need.

This property is one piece of that and conserving history and the Valley oak trees that line the river.

Weaver says they could have a winery operate on site and create a unique experience for the public.

"There's a vineyard, blueberries and citrus. They were farming the property and we're going to continue that for the next few years where they can come out, pick their own fruit and enjoy the day out near the river," Weaver said.

Creating access and sharing history with generations to come.

"It may be foggy outside, but this weekend, the public has a chance to get outdoors and see this beautiful site.

For more information you can head to the River Parkway Trust's website.
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