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People & wildlife flock to Turlock’s Donnelly Park

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People & wildlife flock to Turlock’s Donnelly Park

Feeding the ducks — and fish — at Donnelly Park in Turlock is the perfect way to spend a warm spring day.

JONATHAN MCCORKELL/The 209


POSTED May 19, 2012 1:50 a.m.

There’s no need to waste a loaf of bread — stale or not. Next time a day-old loaf of bread makes its way to your kitchen counter, plan a trip to Turlock’s Donnelly Park.

Donnelly Park is Turlock’s most popular park by far. It’s located in the middle of town and sits on 40 acres of cool, green grass, and is speckled with just the right amount of shade trees.

In the middle of the park is a 10-acre man-made lake, perfect for recycling day-old bread.

Built in 1974, the lake is filled with hundreds of waterfowl like geese and ducks. While the lake is also filled with carp and catfish it is illegal to fish. Throw a few slices of bread into the lake, however, and the calm lake becomes a whirlpool of activity with hungry fish vying for bites before the waterfowl even know what’s happening.

“It really is a nice place to visit and walk around the lake. A lot of people visit in the morning and evenings just to go for a walk,” said City of Turlock Staff Services Technician Carla McLaughlin. “It really is our premier park.”

The park is so popular that covered gazebos must be reserved eight months in advance. During the sunny months the park is packed every weekend. Along with the lake, an elaborate playground area serves the imagination of hundreds of children a day.

“We just love coming to this park and letting the kids run wild. It gives us a break and a chance to relax,” said Cynthia and Mark Greenlee of Turlock. “We usually bring them on the weekends and there are a lot of kids for them to play with.”

For those looking for a quiet place on the weekends, California State University, Stanislaus is the place to be. With few students on campus the university’s many lakes and ponds are calm, relaxing and cool. Ducks, geese and turtles are the resident population at the ponds, which are well shaded by large evergreen trees. But beware — the geese are known to strike if you approach too closely.

 

JONATHAN MCCORKELL

209 staff reporter

 

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