The Mess Left After the Flooding: Turtle Bay East Open Space

The Open Space in Redding is a place for biking, jogging, fishing and an area where you can let your dogs run off leash – as long as they’re controllable.

The Open Space has two sections. The main section is to the south of Highway 44. And to the north of Highway 44 is another area that was completely under water due to flooding. You couldn’t even get to that other side for a couple weeks because of flooding under Highway 44. And anyway, if you did get to the other side, you’d be swimming.

The main section of the Open Space had flooding, also. But most of it escaped flooding because it sits so high above the river. However, there were a few spots that were flooded along the river’s side. I’d like to share those with you. And now that the river is down, I was able to go under Highway 44 and take pictures of the mess the flooding left behind over there.

The past few years, a lot of planting has been done in both areas. They use to call this Turtle Bay East Arboretum. But a lot of work has to be done now on the north side and I hope they’ll have the funds to get it done.

Here’s the Open Space parking lot area with gazebo.

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The trails are made of decomposed granite. So they don’t flood when it rains. They’re great for traffic.

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The far south end has an area with bike jumps. They haven’t been maintained or used in the past three years like they were once enjoyed.

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Looking north over the bike jumps, the Sacramento River is just off to the left of the picture. Normally it’s several feet down the side of this area.

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Here, the Sacramento River comes right up to the trail when the river was at its highest point. Bodie helps us demonstrate.

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Now, the river is down. You get the idea. Pay attention to those two thin three trunks.

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Here’s another view of flooding in the same place.

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You can see how far down the river is. Bodie’s at the river’s edge. And the river is still higher than normal. I hope this gives you an idea how far the Sacramento River rose.

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Here’s a picnic table. I took this picture late when it was getting dark. Notice how the river flows over the seats.

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Now, the river is starting to go down. The water is at the base of the picnic table. In the center of the photo between the brush, there’s a trail that goes down quite a ways because we’re still up high. But you can’t tell yet there’s a trail going down to where the river normally flows.

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But this photo gives you a better idea. This is where the river was when I took this photos, but it still has several more feet to go down.

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When the Sacramento River was at its highest, you couldn’t even get close to going under Highway 44 to the north section of Turtle Bay’s East Arboretum Open Space. Can you see where the fence ends in the center of the photo? That’s where the trail curves right to go under Highway 44.

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Today with the river down, you can get a better idea of the flooding.

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This is Highway 44 above my head.  Normally, the Sacramento River flows just past those front pillars. The river is still several feet above ‘so called’ normal.

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After you go under Highway 44, you come to the entrance of the north section of the arboretum. Most of the nice decomposed granite paths are washed away. So was this kiosk. But it was put back into place. It's hard to tell there was a trail to the left of the kiosk.

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Bodie knew things were different. The smells were off. He must’ve been wondering what had changed. The area almost looks like a fire went through.

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Waterlines beneath the trails were uprooted and tossed around.

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Debris from the river was everywhere.

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Bodie spent time getting use to the new smells among the debris.

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Most of the trails were completely washed away. You couldn’t even tell where they were supposed to be. Rocks were tossed around with the river’s current.

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See that sawed-off tree trunk? A man I met there told me when the flood waters were high, he was standing on the Sundial Bridge and noticed that same tree trunk go under the Sundial Bridge and flow downstream. He was so surprised to see that it later turned up here.

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This is the same tree trunk. But I put an arrow in the center of the photo to show where the Sundial Bridge is. The river flows to the right (east) and makes a curve to the right and flows south past here. The tree trunk must’ve been slammed up into this area on the turn.

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Bodie looked confused to me here. We were both trying to figure out which way the trail went. Maybe I was the only one confused. There sure were a lot of rocks to walk over.

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Several trees were down. This tree made a hut that a homeless person might turn into shelter.

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Everywhere you go, you see waterlines flung all over the place, making a huge mess that has to be cleaned up someday.

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It was hard to find the little markers with colorful flags on them, showing where things had been planted in the arboretum.

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These workers pointed out debris in the trees. I put an arrow by some of the debris hanging from a branch. I wonder how deep the flooding actually got here by the picnic table. I’m 6’2” and the top of the debris was about 8 inches above my head.

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This kiosk still needs to be repositioned. The kiosks have metal posts that were set in cement. It was nothing for the river to uproot and reposition them.

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Bodie had a duck in his sights. Wishful thinking.

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Now ... this boulder was never here. It shows the power of the river.  And we’re getting quite a ways back from the river in this area.

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This photo was taken on the far eastern edge of the flooding. You can see the flooding ended where the green grass begins. I like the wicked looking creature in the background.

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Again ... the river completely ruined the decomposed granite pathways.

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Rocks were tossed everywhere.

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Back in the main section of the Open Space, even though areas were flooded, the dogs still had a great time.

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Steve DuBois
For many years Steve DuBois has enjoyed taking photos of his dogs in interesting and unusual places. He created a photo book of his dogs especially for the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he donated several copies. He loves that the kids enjoy seeing his dogs photographed in unusual ways. Steve says his dogs have been his photographic inspiration and motivation, but sometimes he tries his hand at nature shots, such as the photos he captured of the north state’s 2017 flooding, published here on A News Steve DuBois lives in Redding.
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20 Responses

  1. Randall Smith says:

    Multiply damage at TBE North by ten and you have an approximation of the effect produced at River Bend Open Space, upstream from South Bonnyview Bridge.  Over half of Angler’s Trail was missing, over half a mile, not just the DE.  Volunteers recreated the trail to Nicolet Ln. on 10 Mar. and there is another session on 1 Apr. to restore this lovely area which will tell the power of water for years to come.

    City of Redding has made application for six figure amounts to FEMA and OES for compensation to repair damage to park, trail and open space infrastucture.  Many other places like Yuba City, Oroville and dozens of others have similar and much larger applications pending.

    Waiting for government to pick up litter, restore safe connectors and surfaces and repair other amenities is not nearly as quick or gratifying as doing the work yourself.  Call Adam Whelen at City Parks and see where you can be useful and helpful.  These are very hard times for Adam and his people.  Redding needs to step up and give something back to its beleaguered, loved and heavily damaged trail system.

    • Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

      I’m not familiar with the River Bend Open Space.  I do know of Henderson Open Space behind the old Raleys.  How do you access the River Bend Open Space?  I’d like to take a look at it.  Thanks for the information you provided.


      • Russell K. Hunt says:

        Go to the boat ramp and under the Bonneyview bridge north. It’s Fish and Game property, so technically it is a fishing access. And try Kapusta straight behind Jolly Giant on the riv.

  2. Alexa says:

    Fascinating photos, thank you.  Bodie looks like a lovely dog, you are both so lucky to have each other.

    • Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

      Thank you, Alexa.  Bodie is a wonderful dog.  I couldn’t ask for a better friend.  I got him as a German Shepherd rescue down near Santa Cruz.  He was 11 months old.  Now he’s 2 1/2.  It just happens I got him on Halloween day and named him after a ghost town.  I named him after Ghost Town Bodie in the Sierra’s.  One of his parents is pure bred German Shepherd.  A DNA test also shows some German Shorthaired Pointer.  But I’m sure he also has some Anatolian Shepherd in him.  Bodie is very friendly and loves people and other dogs.  I don’t think he’d hurt a fly.  Well …  he does like to catch and eat flies.

  3. Richard Christoph says:


    Thanks for the extensive before and after photo display. TBE is one of my favorite places to bike and walk our dogs and I’d not been there since the high water levels receded.

  4. Tom Buckner says:

    Great pictures! Thanks!  I visited a lot of flooded areas and forgot about Turtle Bay East.  Thanks for sharing.

  5. Grammy says:

    Dog are suppose to be on leashes!   Did the flooding do away with that?


    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Turtle Bay East is a designated leash-optional zone.  If you want to walk where leashes are required, you can pick pretty much every other place on the river trail system.   Similar to: If you’re in Hawaii and you don’t want to encounter naked people, don’t go to the designated nude beach.  Go to any other beach.

    • Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

      Hi, Grammy.  Well …  I guess Steve Towers did a good job of explaining the situation.  But I do understand your concern for dogs being on leashes.  I’m not aware of any serious problems.  Perhaps it’s happened.  Every time I’m there, the dogs are running around so happy to be free and meet other dogs.  If you get a chance, maybe you could go there for a walk sometime.  In addition to enjoying the beauty of the area, you will see how happy and excited the dogs are to have such a large area to run and enjoy meeting other dogs.  Leashes sometimes cause aggression.  If you do go, I’d got before the end of April.  All the gorgeous green grass will be in the process of turning yellow by then.  Unfortunately, in the summer we have a lot of stickers and foxtails.  So dog owners need to be aware of the foxtail risk.

  6. ginny says:

    Thank you for showing how bad the flooding was.

  7. Karen C says:

    Thanks for the informative  story, and fabulous pictures.  Bodie did a great job too.  I hope that area can be restored this spring and summer.

    • Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

      You’re welcome, Karen.  And according to Randall Smith above, funding will be provided to help restore many flooded areas.

  8. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Wow—the area north of the SR 44 bridge looks hammered.

    The boulder sitting on top of the footbridge is puzzling.  If the velocities were strong enough to move that boulder to that location, the footbridge must be anchored much better than is apparent.  Or—just thinking out loud here—is that a quarried piece of limestone placed by the City to keep the footbridge from washing away?

    • name says:

      That is what I was thinking – they put that rock there to keep the bridge from washing away

    • Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

      Interesting.  It’s not as dramatic as I thought.  But it did strike me odd.  So perhaps you’re right.  I’ve watched them build all the bridges there.  I’ve been taking my dogs there for years.  So now that you’ve got me thinking more about it, I can’t imagine the boulder being placed there by water velocity.  You must be right.

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