Prescription Fire: A Hot Topic on the ARP

Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow
Korbi Thalhammer

While mapping social trails on the American River Parkway in Sacramento, I am often approached by curious walkers, cyclists, and other Parkway users. They’re interested in what I’m doing with my GPS and maps, and when they learn that I’m interning for the County of Sacramento, the main governing agency on the Parkway, they often have some suggestions for how the river corridor could be better cared for.

Simple solutions have also occurred to me as I’ve learned more about the problems facing the Parkway. But the more I ask about why these steps have not been taken, the more I encounter layers of complexity that exist below the surface of Parkway management issues.

A firefighter stands at the ready during a June training burn on the Parkway.

A firefighter stands at the ready during a June training burn on the Parkway.


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A Formal Assessment of Informal Trails

Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow
Korbi Thalhammer

The slim ribbon of dirt I’d been following for a quarter mile skirted the edge of a bluff, ducked under a low oak and then dipped out of sight as it followed a precipitous line down the edge of a dredge tailing. I made my way down the steep slope of rocks that had been excavated from the American River’s bed during the California Gold Rush, listening for periodic beeps from my GPS to ensure that I was indeed recording and updating my location as I traveled. At the base of the tailing, the trail wound its way around a fallen cottonwood and finally disappeared into blackberry bushes and poison oak. I turned around and clambered back up the rock pile, GPS and satellite photos in hand. At the top of the pile, I stopped to record the trail’s width and level of degradation.

As an intern at the Sacramento County Department of Regional Parks, I’ve been tasked with developing and implementing a system of mapping and categorizing informal social trails in the American River Parkway. Continue reading