Giving Thanks For A Wet River


Those of us who live in the Redding and Red Bluff areas have a tendency to take the Sacramento River for granted. We shouldn’t.

I’m working on a story for a different publication about the City of Bakersfield’s efforts to get water in the Kern River. Yes, the mighty Kern River – in which Merle Haggard vowed never to swim again – dries up before it reaches the Bakersfield city limits. Irrigation districts divert all of the water to farms.

The “river” through Bakersfield is nothing more than a wide, sandy wash. The city has built miles of bicycle, equestrian and hiking trails along the river, and there are, to my count, seven municipal parks or ball fields along the river in and just outside of town. But there is no water, only dust and rocks.

Can you imagine Anderson River Park, the Sacramento River bike path, Caldwell Park or Red Bluff’s River Park without water in the Sacramento River? No, neither can I. But that’s about what our friends at the southern end of the Central Valley are stuck with unless they are able win some disputed water rights.


• Ever started pruning a tree only to figure our halfway through that you didn’t have a clue what you were doing? Ever had a seemingly healthy tree just up and die? Ever wondered why you get so little fruit on your peach tree? Then you need to attend the “Homeowners Guide to Tree Care,” scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. The event is free for Turtle Bay members or $3 for nonmembers. Details:

• While you’re at Turtle Bay, you might want to watch local artist Andrew Jenson demonstrate Gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish printing. He will demonstrate the trade for free between 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday at the Turtle Bay Visitor’s Center.

• Tickets are still available for two Shasta County Land Trust outings this weekend. On Saturday, March 20, members of The Nature Conservancy will lead a 5-mile interpretive hike in the Dye Creek Preserve east of Red Bluff. Parkville history will be featured on Sunday, March 21, with a tour of Parkville Cemetery, exploration of the DuBose Ranch and stagecoach rides. The Dye Creek hike costs $25 for land trust members, or $27 for nonmembers. The history tour costs $35/38 for adults, and $15/17 for children. Proceeds benefit the land trust. Tickets and details:

• Anderson’s sixth annual Lean & Green Day is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 24, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Volonte Park. This year, students at Anderson New Tech High School and Anderson High are putting together all of the informational booths on health, nutrition and physical activity that will be set up at the park. Students from a number of schools will be stopping by for some interaction and, literally, a walk in the park. Also scheduled is a healthy cooking demonstration at the Anderson City Hall Community Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All of this is free and open to the public. Contact the Anderson Park and Recreation Department for details, 378-6656.

• The Redding Rancheria Community Foundation announced that it raised $38,000 at its annual party for nonprofit organizations that assist homeless and low-income people in Shasta and Trinity counties. Congrats to all involved in this worthy cause.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and co-author of Guide to California Planning, a reference book and college text. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley can be reached at

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.
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2 Responses

  1. Avatar Pat j. says:

    Living on a side channel of the Sacramento River we never take it for granted and enjoy it everyday. Also, happy that Shasta Lake is almost full. Should be a great summer.

  2. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Paul, how fortunate we northern valley folks are for a bountiful river, the Sacramento and hundreds of streams and lakes.

    The early Indians and settlers who inhabited this pristine landscape used this river for fishing , mining and drinking water. We have controlled the mighty

    Sacramento to prevent flooding, provide electricity , irrigation and

    lastly recreation on a very large Shasta Lake.

    We owe these dams to the fine work of movers and shakers of the 30's and 40's such as Congressman Harold T. "Biz" Johnson and Senator Clair Engle.

    Make it date on your busy agenda to get down to river to fish or boat or both and take a picnic to celebrate the occation. Or walk over the Sundial bridge to enjoy this city's river.

    When you do,think about the people of Bakersfield who enjoy the Kern for mud wrestling.