Truckee River Recreation Plan & Whitewater Park

Pre-project low-head dam
and vertical walls

Post-project river access and
safe “play waves”

Wingfield Park
by: Wendy Bumgardner © 2006

Truckee River Recreation Plan & Whitewater Park at Wingfield Park/Reno, Nevada/Nevada Commission on Tourism

Resource Concepts was contracted by the Nevada Commission on Tourism to prepare a recreation plan for 20 miles of the Truckee River through Truckee Meadows. The Truckee River Recreation Plan presents a shared vision of over 20 local agencies and organizations with interest in the Truckee River for 20 miles of the river corridor from Verdi, Nevada west of Reno to the east side of Sparks, Nevada. The Plan calls for specific improvements:

  • in-stream whitewater improvements such as drops, pools and a defined low-flow;
  • dam modification or removal to allow continuous safe river passage for rafts, inner tubes, kayaks, and canoes;
  • improved river access;
  • improved and expanded riverside tails, plazas and esplanades; and
  • a whitewater slalom course in downtown Reno.

The Plan includes a discussion on liability issues, economic benefits, and costs of the proposed improvements. The Plan was embraced and endorsed by virtually all agencies that have an association with the Truckee River. Kayaking is the fastest growing recreational sport in the United States. The elevation of the Truckee Meadows, and the clean water quality of the Truckee River, are an ideal combination for competitive athletic training.

In addition to creating the recreation plan, RCI had lead engineering and permitting responsibilities for the Whitewater Park at Wingfield Park. Prior to construction of the whitewater park, the river was bounded by vertical walls with no access to the water’s edge and there was a hazardous low-head dam in the north channel of the river. The vertical walls were replaced by large boulders strategically placed to provide a stable stair-step-type of access to the water, and the boulders provided for bank stability in a high-use park setting as well as during flood events. All of the in-stream whitewater features are passable by fish.

Resource Concepts was the lead in writing and preparing the document. Gary Lacy, owner of Recreation Engineering and Planning, provided the vision and examples from other cities. Rex Massey with Research and Consulting Services and Dr. Tom Harris with the University of Nevada, Center for Economic Development provided the economic benefit analyses. Jim Litchfield with Kennedy Jenks Consultants provided the existing land use information and hydraulic feasibility.

Note: This project was constructed by Cruz Excavating, Inc. under separate contract to the City of Reno


Truckee River Recreation Plan Report (PDF file, 60MB)

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