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One of the great perks of living in Fresno is our proximity to nature; getting away from the daily grind can be surprisingly easy. Just a short drive beyond the city limits, we’ve got mountains, trees, and wildlife galore. There’s also the mighty San Joaquin River, which runs right through town, bringing fresh water down to the valley from the Sierra National Forest.
Since 1988, the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust has been spearheading the effort to connect Fresno residents to the region’s most important natural resource, the river. Through a combination of land acquisition, conservation efforts, and educational outreach, the River Parkway Trust has been protecting the river and its environs, as well as ensuring that its resources remain publicly available, ever since a concerned group of citizens came together three decades ago to form the non-profit.
On Wednesday, April 11, the River Parkway Trust kicks off the 2018 season of Respite by the River, an ongoing entertainment series that offers Fresnans the opportunity to relax in nature while enjoying homegrown music and literature. Running intermittently through September, each event will feature local authors reading from their works, hometown musicians providing tunes, and Mother Nature doing her best to remind us what truly matters in life. People are encouraged to bring picnics, blankets, and lawn chairs. Macca’s Wine Bar will be serving wine, and desserts will also be on sale.
“This year we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary as an organization. The 2018 Respite season is dedicated to the hard work that has been accomplished over the last 30 years building and protecting the Parkway,” says Finn Telles, Director of Business Development for the non-profit.
Wednesday night’s premiere event features a reading by Marisol Baca, along with musical guest Low Noon. It will be followed by these events:
- May 8: Reading by Kenneth Chacón with music by Danzantes Yoztaltepetl
- May 18: McLane High School’s ArtVenture Program will provide readings, music, performances, and art
- June 13: Reading by Tanya Nichols, music by Old Blue
- July 10: Reading by Evo Bluestein, music by The Gilly Girls
- August 7: Reading by Mai Der Vang, music by Richard Sirois
- September 12: Reading by Peter Everwine, music by Barry Shultz and Megan Bohigian
A full schedule can be seen here.
The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust is located at 11605 Old Friant Rd, Fresno, California 93730. At its website, you can find out more about its River Center for art and educational exhibits; you can also get the low-down on a host of amazing nature-oriented things to do this summer, including canoe/kayak tours, nature walks, River Camp, and an exhaustive lineup of parties. Thanks to the River Parkway Trust, rest and recreation are always just around the corner.
Photos courtesy of The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust