? & CO

American River Parkway

How might we humanize the experience of the American River Parkway in Sacramento, California?



Spanning across the Sacramento region the parkway is used by our city every day. Locals use the trails to commute, to relax amongst nature and for recreation adventures. In order to protect/preserve the trails for future generations, we’re collaborating with the community in creating a space for storytelling to inspire awareness around the American River Parkway experience and the factors impacting its sustainability.



Community Outreach
& Interviews

Environmental Science
& Sustainability

& Placemaking

β€œThe real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”
— Marcel Proust

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Start conversations with locals


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Promote ecocentrism & bio-empathy


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Become raconteurs for the community



Synopsis & Overview


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to relive your childhood memories...the first time you adventured into nature, your first moment of connection to the world away from the city? Do you think about how your children may someday experience that same feeling? Perhaps you’ve also imagined if they will experience that feeling at all.

Since I was a young boy I’ve been exploring nature and the American River Parkway was the wonderland countless youth / adults in the Sacramento region had the joyful opportunity to experience.

This project was inspired partly by a need for awareness of parkway preservation efforts along the American River and the surrounding networks of trails. On the other hand the need for public education of ways to be more ecocentric in our daily lives and in our interactions with the natural habitats that surround the city. 

Not only do the families / children / adults use these nature areas for recreation and relaxation but our local schools use the trails for educational opportunities that present new pathways for development and growth. 



What is the American River Parkway?


The American River Parkway is the center of all natural beauty in the metropolitan city of Sacramento. It's uniquely crafted path spans from Old Town Sacramento to Folsom Lake, twisting and winding its asphalt limbs along the graceful American River.


Originally named in 1837 by the Mexican Governor of California Juan Bautista Alvarado, natively pronounced as El Rio de Los Americanos.

Named for the multitude of local trappers whom traveled along its shore. The native Californians, the Nisenan Indian tribe once fished those same shores for hundreds of years before being driven off by industrialization and wide spread disease. After nearly a century of metropolitan population growth, a man by the name of John Nolan envisioned the preliminary concepts for the "American River Parkway". Although it wasn't until the late 1930s when the plans were ceased by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted for completion within the next few years. 


With a growing average of 5 million annual visitors the American River Parkway gives locals and visitors the chance to experience our city from a unique angle.

Spanning over an eighty-two acres of government owned and managed landscape, the parkway lets its visitors view nature, spend time with family or catch some fresh dinner. Countless landmarks can also be visited along the path and natural habitats which span its landscape, included among them are Sutter's Fort, Historic Folsom, Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Folsom Lake, California State University - Sacramento as well as multiple other historic locations for tourist to gaze upon.



Research: Understand the problem


Historical topographic maps of the Sacramento region :

(select map for USGS interactive version) 

Collection of gathered secondary research & local news reports:



Interviews: Learn from people


Discussion Guidelines & Interview Questions:


Community outreach for potential interview participants:

* rendered to preserve anonymity

* rendered to preserve anonymity


Parkway moments captured to aid our immersion discoveries:



Synthesis: Who uses the parkway?



Analysis: Placemaking & Wayfinding



Interviews in progress...
Please check back soon :)


...or check out the original work that inspired the current project