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Calaveras River alive & well, defies its translation

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Calaveras River alive & well, defies its translation

The San Joaquin Council of Governments with support of San Joaquin County and the City of Stockton, as a joint project, extended the Calaveras River Bike Path, from West Lane to Cherokee Road.

Photo contributed/


POSTED July 25, 2014 6:48 p.m.



STOCKTON – I’ve gotten to know the Calaveras River quite well over the years.

In particular, the 6.71 miles of asphalt – or 7.43 miles from Buckley Cove to Cherokee Road – along the east-west corridor better known as the Calaveras River Bike Path.

But there’s more to it, as I recently discovered during a run from the University of the Pacific to a gated area that took you right behind the homes in the exclusive Brookside community.

What I noticed is a different flurry of activity on this part of the Calaveras River.

I was thrilled to see people rowing, kayaking, fishing (in a boat or along the banks), waterskiing, jet skiing, and sailing.

I also caught a glimpse of someone engaged in paddle surfing.

But most of this took place in the confluence of where the Calaveras River meets the San Joaquin River.

As far as the other part of the river, some have described it as a drainage ditch.

Changes could be in store. The National Marine Fisheries Service just released a plan to replenish that part of the Calaveras. But the price tag is steep – try somewhere between $17 billion to $37 billion during in a 50-year span.

This recovery plan has the NMFS recommending improved passage ways at the Bellota Weir east of Stockton, removing many of the small barriers along the way to allow for year-round flows of fish. Most notably, Central Valley steel head.

The name “Calaveras” means “skulls” in Spanish.  Explorer Gabriel Moraga came across skulls of Native Americans along its banks in earlier times.

Today, the river is over 51 miles and flows southwest from the north and south forks in Calaveras County to New Hogan Lake.  The recreation area of New Hogan Dam – completed in 1963 by the Army Corps of Engineers – offers fishing, camping, swimming and water skiing.

Meanwhile, the San Joaquin Council of Governments with support of San Joaquin County and the City of Stockton, as a joint project, extended the Calaveras River Bike Path, from West Lane to Cherokee Road.

Included was a bike-pedestrian bridge just east of West Lane.

Other than recreation, the Calaveras River along the Delta offers a variety of wildlife.

Reports of river otters were seen along the banks near Brookside. I’ve spotted egrets, herons, hawks, pelicans and beavers on a few of my bike rides.

All told, this path is shared by many, including nature enthusiasts, athletes in training, weekend warriors, runners, walkers, and students attending UOP, Delta College, Stagg High and the other neighborhood schools.

Each year, UOP students will organize clean-up crews to ensure the bike path is made safe for those using it, clearing out glass and other debris.

In addition, the Calaveras River is home to the San Joaquin Bike Fest in September and the annual St. Joseph’s half marathon and 5K runs in November.

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