The City of Oakdale does not have a public river access and boat launching area, and members of the Citizens’ Action Committee hope to remedy that. Five members of the Citizen’s Action Committee formed the River Access Working Group to study options for a publicly owned and maintained river access and boat launch area. They made a presentation to Oakdale City Council on Sept. 6 with information on the current lack of river access and what they hope to see in Oakdale’s future.
John Lane addressed council on behalf of the River Access Working Group and reported that there is no boat launch or public river access in Oakdale city limits. The nearest public access points to the Stanislaus River are in Stanley Wakefield Recreation Area and Valley Oak Recreation Area, both maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Both areas include public hiking and biking trails with river access. There are several other hiking and biking trails along the river in the city limits, but they are not connected all the way along the river. The River Access Working Group would also like to see a river trail established in the City of Oakdale that would connect all of the biking and walking paths in the area along the river. Oakdale has even done preliminary planning in Valley View Park.
“There is the potential for connectivity all the way through Oakdale,” Lane said.
The River Access Working Group studied several nearby river recreation areas, including those in Waterford and Riverbank. Lane pointed out that Waterford received state funding for their river access area. They used the funding to create public biking and walking trails that are maintained by the City of Waterford and have access to the river. The trail runs along a residential area and there are locked gates that allow community members access with a key code. Jacob Myers Park in Riverbank is one of the more popular boat launch spots in the area. It has become so well used that the City of Riverbank recently announced that they will be charging for parking on certain high-use days. Jacob Myers is maintained by the City of Riverbank and includes swimming and fishing access as well as hiking trails.
Lane said that the River Access Group would like to include updated biking and walking paths in the general plan update, and also include a boat launch and river access area. The next step for the River Access Working Group is to conduct community outreach to gauge what Oakdale residents think about river trails and public access points. If the public agrees that this is something that would be welcome in Oakdale, the group will identify and pursue funding.
“We want to get to the point where we’re shovel ready, so when we identify funding we can go after it,” Lane said.