Planning Process and Community Engagement
Beginning in Spring 2020, the Planning Department will be facilitating an expansive engagement process to collect feedback from throughout the community, and to establish consensus around the trail’s physical and programmatic features. Through the Merced River Trail Community Speaker + Engagement Series, people who are passionate about and interested in the project can both shape the project’s vision, goals, principles, and priorities, and learn about the Merced River corridor’s singular cultural and ecological assets. Part lecture, part workshop, these events rely on the expansive knowledge of local experts in topics like the Native American history, botany, and wildlife characteristics of the river canyon, and invite interested stakeholders to share their thoughts in a variety of ways throughout the planning process.
To help develop and implement the trail’s engagement program, the county has empaneled an official advisory committee called the Merced River Trail Community Working Group (CWG). In addition to providing crucial technical expertise on topics related to trail planning, the CWG ensures that the Community Speaker + Engagement Series is reaching a diversity of stakeholders from throughout the county, and asking the right questions to effectively imagine and implement a shared vision for the trail. You can learn more about the group and stay up to date with their meetings here. Be sure to select " Merced River Trail Community Working Group" from the drop down box under " Meeting Group".
While the series provides opportunities to participate in the process in person, community members do not need to attend the events to weigh in on the projects. After each event, the engagement materials will be posted below, so that those who weren’t able to make it to the event can print out and complete the exercises from home and return them to the Planning Department. Hard copies will also be available at the Planning Department’s offices.
Merced River Trail Community Speaker + Engagement Series
This space will be updated as the series unfolds throughout 2020. Check back for updates, including the engagement materials from each meeting for those who weren’t able to attend an event but would still like to participate. Completed engagement materials can be delivered to the Planning Department at 5100 Bullion Street or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIalogue #1: Native American Sense of Place + Project Vision
Irene A. Vasquez is the secretary for the American Indian Council of Mariposa County (Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation) and an expert in eco-cultural uses of native plants. Learn about the river canyon’s place in generations of indigenous history, while shaping the Merced River Trail Master Plan’s guiding vision and aspirations.
At the February workshop, participants completed an exercise to determine the project vision for the Merced RIver Trail master plan. If you weren’t able to make it to the workshop but would still like to participate in the process, never fear!
Click here to download the workshop exercise, which you can then print out and complete at home. When you’ve completed the exercise, you can either mail or deliver it to the Mariposa County Planning Department (5100 Bullion Street // Mariposa, CA// 95338) or email it to Mikey Goralnik ().
You can download Irene Vasquez’s presentation, “Wakaalmuto,” here. Please refrain from reproducing any of the images without Ms. Vasquez’s consent.
Dialogue #2: Ecological Identity + Project Goals
At the December 2020 workshop, Rob Grasso provided an overview of some key wildlife species in the Merced River canyon, and identified several important wildlife- and habitat-related issues to deeply consider through the trail planning process. Additionally, county staff shared a link to an online survey to collect input on the project’s goals.
The presentation was recorded and is available to watch back here, while the presenters’ slides can be downloaded from the links below.
Mariposa County Planning Department Slides. shown here.
Rob Grasso Slides shown here.
El Portal Open House #1 // January 7, 2021
At this online Open House-type event, members of the Merced River Trail Community Working Group, Mariposa County staff, and Supervisor Smallcombe met with members of the El Portal, Foresta, and Incline communities to hear input, suggestions, and ideas for the Merced River Trail.