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Flooding causes damage to River Parkway Trail

Sandy Brinley puts caution tape up to warn people of a dangerous portion of the Oakhurst River Parkway Trail that was washed away when the Fresno River overflowed its banks on Feb. 7. Brinley is asking members of the community to gather Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Oakhurst Library to help with repair and clean-up work along the trail.
Sandy Brinley puts caution tape up to warn people of a dangerous portion of the Oakhurst River Parkway Trail that was washed away when the Fresno River overflowed its banks on Feb. 7. Brinley is asking members of the community to gather Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Oakhurst Library to help with repair and clean-up work along the trail. Sierra Star

When the Fresno River overflowed its banks Feb. 7, the powerful flow of water flooded the lower parking lot at the Sierra Telephone Parkway building adjacent to the river. That same surging water washed away a 25-foot section of the Oakhurst River Parkway trail and damaged other portions of the trail.

“The flooding caused the loss of many of the 8-foot logs that line the trail,” said Sandy Brinley, trail committee chairperson. “The water lifted the logs and the rebar that held them right out of the ground and took them downstream. The flooding also left a lot of trash and other debris along the tail that was carried from upstream.”

Brinley urged people to be cautious while walking the trail until all the repairs can be made.

First constructed in 1992, the trail has been maintained by a small group of volunteers over the years, led by Brinley. A true labor or love, Brinley and other volunteers have spent hundreds of hours maintaining the trail over the past 25 years.

The 3.5-mile trail starts at the Oakhurst Library and ends at Yosemite High School.

A variety of projects have been completed along the river banks and on the trail over the years including the removal of more than 40 tons of trash and debris, construction of wood and rock retaining walls, removal over overgrown brush, construction of four wooden pedestrian bridges and the planting of 600 oak trees along with many shrubs, plants and bulbs along the trail.

Past work on the trail has come from federal agencies such as Americorps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. State assistance has come from the California Department of Water Resources, Cal Trans, CDF Mt. Bullion, Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Resource Conservation District.

Other groups, agencies and businesses who have assisted with the trail include Boy Scouts, 4-H, Kiwanis, Soroptimists, Bulldog Towing, Sierra Telephone, Patricia Jensen (architect), Tim Egan Tractor Service, Madera County Board of Supervisors, Coarsegold Resource Conservation District, PG&E and the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution District.

Volunteers sought for Saturday

Brinley is reaching out to the community to help with needed repairs and clean-up along portions of the trail this Saturday.

Individuals, local organizations and individual high school students and school clubs are invited to help with the clean-up.

“All those who can spare a couple hours Saturday are asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Oakhurst Library,” Brinley said. “Tools and water will be provided. This is a good opportunity for students who need some community service hours and for everyone to get outdoors and get some exercise while doing something for the community.”

Details: Sandy Brinley, (559) 683-7027, www.orptrail.org.

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