Recreation is Flourishing in Modesto’s Riverside Communities

Written by Edgar Garibay and Lauren Barnum

Recreation events bring the community together. What were once underutilized outdoor spaces are becoming important community hubs for recreation and camaraderie outside of the house. On an early Saturday morning in August, 50 riverside community residents, youth and community partners gathered at the picnic area in the Tuolumne River Regional Park for California’s Free Fishing Day. Participants learned the history of the park, how to be safe near and on the river, wildlife of the Tuolumne River, and fishing/casting basics. For a majority of the participants, it was their first time learning about the fish that inhabit the Tuolumne, fishing rod anatomy, and how to put a line on the fishing rod. Between getting the fishing lines stuck to plant life and trees, Ismael Delgado mentioned being, Nervous and bad because I need to practice fishing more.”

Thanks to the support from Teichert Foundation, Youth Outside, Ride for Mom and Boyett Make Dreams Real, and the George H. W. Bush Vamos a Pescar Education Fund through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, we have facilitated 55 outings and activities for riverside communities – that’s over one per week! Recreation events include bicycle rides through the Tuolumne River Regional Park, canoeing on the Dennett Dam-free lower river, fishing, orienteering, and nature walks to get to know the outdoor spaces available in their community.

These recreation activities connect residents to the Tuolumne and instill an appreciation of nature and the river. As Alvaro Davalos, a youth participant in our Central Valley programming, puts it, “I like outdoor activities because I get to learn new things like how to fish/cast. I like to see what fishes are out there in the river.” 

Most of you have experienced the joy of being outdoors in nature. Whether you spend your summers camping in the foothills, fishing in Central Valley, or rafting the Wild & Scenic section, there’s something for everyone. Joanna Carcamo comments after a day spent in the Tuolumne River Regional Park — the largest urban park in Stanislaus County, covering 500 acres along 7 miles of river — ,“I love being outdoors because it involves being out in nature and I get to see the wildlife at the parks and the river.”

The TRRP’s bicycle and walking trails along the river offer scenic views, some of the region’s oldest Valley Oak trees, great fishing, and the occasional squirrel scavenging for acorns. If you haven’t visited the TRRP, we encourage you to get outside and enjoy it this holiday season.