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Dos Rios Ranch Reserve now open to the public
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Senior park aide Chrissy Sullivan, left, gives a tour of the newly opened Dos Rios Ranch Preserve, about 20 miles west of Turlock on Wednesday (JOE CORTEZ/The Journal).

California’s newest state park — the 1,600-acre Dos Rios Ranch Preserve — officially opened to the public on Wednesday as a kickoff to State Parks Week.

Located at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers about 20 miles west of Turlock, near Grayson, the Dos Rios property is the state’s largest public-private floodplain restoration project, according to California State Parks. Dos Rios restores habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife at the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers. It’s the state’s 281st state park and the first to open in nearly a decade.

Guests will be able to use Dos Rios for hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching, with plans for bicycling, swimming, and boating in the future.

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Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto), left, speaks with Geoff Kish, VP of programs for Parks California during Wednesday's opening of Dos Rios Ranch Preserve, located about 20 miles west of Turlock (JOE CORTEZ/The Journal).

A crowd of about 300 was on hand for the opening, which featured information booths, walking tours, food and beverages … and plenty of free swag.

“It’s great to see a new state park, not only in our back yard, but in my district, and me being able to have bragging rights to have one during my term,” said Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto), whose sons are both Eagle Scouts. “My wife and I actually did a tour of this place last year … and we were excited, my team was excited just to be here. So that’s why some of my team is here today, because they’re looking forward to the hikes and trails and maybe someday camping here.”

Patterson’s Alex Garcia, along with her sister Gaby Garcia and son Maximus Ramos Garcia, are happy to have a state park so close to home.

“We get to go on walks with this little guy, and it feels safe because of all the rangers,” said Gaby. “It feels clean and it’s near the farm where we pick cherries, when it’s open. And blueberries.”

Six-year-old Maxiums proved to be a man of few words. When asked if he would like visiting Dos Rios in the coming years, his reply was succinct.


Dos Rios is the second state park to open in Stanislaus County, joining Turlock Lake State Recreation Area in La Grange. However, it’s been closed since 2021 while California State Parks and Turlock Irrigation District search for a new park operator.

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River Partners president of the non-profit River Partners Julie Rentner address guests during Wednesday's opening of Dos Rios Ranch Preserve, located about 20 miles west of Turlock (JOE CORTEZ/The Journal).

Gov. Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom were at the park on April 22 to dedicate California’s first new state park since November 2014 when Onyx Ranch State Vehicular Recreation Area (eastern Kern County) debuted.

“There’s no better way to spend Earth Day than celebrating California’s first new state park in nearly a decade,” Newsom said. “The Golden State’s natural beauty is unmatched and we’re laser-focused on ensuring every Californian can enjoy these spaces.

“And the benefits don’t just stop at recreation. This park is a key asset to fighting the climate crisis, home to the state’s largest floodplain restoration project. We’re not just protecting these spaces, we’re restoring them for future generations.”

On hand to speak Wednesday were State Parks Director Armando Quintero, and Julie Rentner, president of River Partners, who, along with the Tuolumne River Trust, was instrumental in the park’s development over the past two decades.

During her remarks, Rentner thanked former Assemblymember Adam Gray for his work on the project.

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The 1,600-acre Dos Rios Ranch Preserve is located at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers about 20 miles west of Turlock, near Grayson (Photo contributed).

“For 10 years he represented this region in the Assembly and was foundational in setting up the Problem Solvers Caucus,” said Rentner. “They’ve looked at flood plains here in the Central Valley and really championed investment here. Without leadership like that of former Assemblyman Adam Gray, I don’t know that we would have the 

political will to invest at this scale and bring parks to these places.”

Gray recalled seeing water standing last year on hundreds of acres, noting the park was doing what it was designed to do — flood. Because Dos Rios flooded, nearby communities such as Grayson and Newman did not. Instead, those floodwaters provided salmon habitat and replenished the region’s aquifers.

“This is more than just another pretty place,” said Gray, in a press release. “This is a template for what our parks can be and should be.”

Modesto native Diana Avalos, a Stanislaus State graduate who works as a senior program manager in the first partner’s office, delivered a speech titled “A Love Letter to Modesto.”

“… Dos Rios Park is the best of our comunidad,” Avalos said in her remarks. “This restoration project is the definition of ‘by community, for community.’ Our community did this. And I want the world to see the hope that lives and breathes in the Central Valley.”

Dos Rios is open Fridays through Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and entrance to the park, located at 3559 Shiloh Road, near Grayson, is free. Call the park at 209-596-9032 for more information.