SECTION II: POTENTIAL STRATEGIES
Group D: STRATEGIES THAT SUPPORT AN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY
Strategy D3: Improve transportation infrastructure
This strategy proposes transportation infrastructure improvements to provide a (1) safe, reliable transportation system for Delta agriculture and commerce and (2) safe and clearly signed access for cars, buses, trains, boats, and bikes for recreation and tourism purposes. Strategy D1.2 addresses agricultural infrastructure, especially distribution and processing which rely heavily on safe and reliable roads.
Potential programs that are more focused on recreation and tourism include:
- Local and CalTrans assistance to encourage compatibility among drivers/tourists and farm operations (e.g., signs, farm signs, crop signs, etc.)
- Project proponent commitment to incorporate hiking and biking routes, as well as public access to waterways for fishing, wildlife watching and non-motorized boating, and publicly-funded levee improvements, where feasible and in coordination with the local communities.
- Local (county) assistance to develop recreational touring routes, including planning, road widening, off-street trails, bridges and signage (one example is implementing the DPC's Great California Delta Trail)
- CalTrans engagement on recreation improvements along State Routes 4, 12 and 160, such as bicycle routes, signage, viewing pull-outs, parking at fishing access points, etc.
RELATED PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
The five counties and the State all have varying degrees of responsibility with the Delta's roadways. Transportation infrastructure improvements are critical for increasing safety and access for Delta agriculture and commerce, and for better safety, access and signage for increased recreation and tourism by car, bus, train, bike, boat, and foot. The Economic Sustainability Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (ESP), states:
"Driving for pleasure in the Delta is very popular and is a prime example of the right of way/tourism-related recreation use. This recreation category also includes bicycling, hiking, and walking. The winding roadways, interesting bridges, scenic views of waterways and agricultural areas, Legacy Communities, and historic structure all contribute to its visual appeal. The ability to buy fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the grower, visit a winery and sample their product, stop and pick up a freshly made deli sandwich or an ice cream at a 50-year-old grocery store all deepen the Delta experience. To many, the resources are part of the charm—the historical town of Locke, the wildlife preserves, or even the beautiful oak tree canopies shading the roadway.1
The Delta Protection Commission (DPC) is developing the Great California Delta Trail to create a contiguous land-based trail system throughout the Delta. DPC is meeting with local governments, trail organizations, and locals to discuss trail routes, connectivity, and concerns related to publicly accessible trails. The Delta Conservancy (Conservancy) supports DPC's efforts and is identifying projects that can contribute to the trail program, including the development of recreation plan for the McCormack-Williamson Tract.
A few towns and chambers of commerce have developed or are interested in developing driving/touring maps that will make it easier to navigate the Delta. Additionally, the Conservancy—in coordination with the DPC—is developing a Delta brand and marketing plan that will coordinate tourism opportunities in the region.
In 2011, State Parks released a Recreation Proposal for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh, which discussed a "Gateway-Basecamp-Adventure" strategy. This strategy would create a network of recreation areas to help manage and coordinate recreation in the region.
Delta agri-tourism organizations currently advertise their trails and farms on the roadways.
The ESP also states that "Several physical and operational constraints have an impact on current facilities and recreation access including…access points…private land trespass, and complex regulations."2 The Conservancy, DPC, and State Parks are also discussing how to encourage compatibility amongst tourism, recreation, and farm operations.
Farmers are often concerned about trespass - a concern which has eliminated many traditional recreation access points in the region. A program to increase recreation access points, or even provide clarity to recreationists on where they can find legal recreation access points, will reduce trespass. This could include signage, parking and safety improvements at legal access points, and a web-based map guide. The ESP states, "When attracting visitors and expanding recreation access to waterways and landside recreation improvements, potential negative impacts on agriculture from increased tourism and recreation can be minimized by focusing recreation uses and activities through expansion of existing recreation sites, development in Legacy Communities, creating buffer areas adjacent to agriculture, and increasing public safety enforcement."3 Compatibility needs to be front and center as does including the community in determining how best to address these issues.
OPPORTUNITIES AND POTENTIAL PARTNERS
The Delta Conservancy, Delta Protection Commission, State Parks, Department of Fish and Wildlife and local government.
The State Lands Commission should be involved in identifying legal access points, along with public land managers.
1. Delta Protection Commission, Economic Sustainability Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 2012. Page 168.
If you would like to provide feedback on this strategy, please click the following link: Agricultural Stewardship Strategy Feedback Form
ALS Workgroup: ALS Framework and Strategies: Section II: D3 Transportation Infrastructure: 102913