The river recreation plan elements presented in this section are concepts that may be applied to the entire Truckee River corridor. Recommendations for element applications are specific recreation improvements. A cost estimate for implementing these improvements follows as well as the economic analysis of those improvements. In order to understand the need for the recommended recreation improvements a brief description of the Truckee River sections is provided.
This plan identifies three separate segments on the Truckee River (Figure 1 — see Executive Summary). These sections are differentiated by the gradient of the river, public access, and the proximity to the city centers. The sections are:
- The Canyon Section from Crystal Peak Park in Verdi to Mayberry Park west of Reno;
- The In-Town Section from Mayberry Park to Rock Park in Sparks; and
- The Lower Truckee Meadows Section from Rock Park through Sparks to Lockwood.
- The Canyon Section from Crystal Peak Park in Verdi to Mayberry Park has the steepest gradient and the most difficult rapids of the three sections. This section to the west of Reno is reached via Interstate 80. The steep gradient and nature of the rapids requires advanced and intermediate boating skills. The river has very limited public access and is generally in a natural condition. The Washoe/Highland Diversion Dam three miles downstream of Crystal Peak Park is a hazard to river users. The USFWS is in the process of proposing modifications to the dam to allow for fish passage. Washoe County is currently focusing on this section of the river for land acquisition and trail expansion. The efforts of Washoe County and the USFWS compliment the vision of this Truckee River Recreation Plan.
Kayaking and rafting through downtown Reno.
- The In-Town Section from Mayberry Park to Rock Park has a moderate gradient and rapids suitable for beginner and intermediate skill levels. This section begins in a natural riparian park, flows through the heart of downtown Reno, and ends at the largest riverside park in Sparks. The section has good access and public interaction areas at numerous mid-point locations. The proximity to the city centers allows for easy access for tourists and locals for a full day or half day boating and/or fishing on the river. Many of the most successful river parks in the U.S. are similar to this in-town section on the Truckee. This section is the primary focus of this plan because it is close to the city centers, is easily accessible, and does not require advanced boating skills.
- The Lower Truckee Meadows Section from Rock Park to Lockwood east of Sparks has the lowest gradient. There are no rapids between Rock Park and Larkin Circle. There are several small rapids in the canyon between Larkin Circle and Lockwood. This section of the river has a river trail to Larkin Circle but is not well connected with the rest of the community. Access to the waters edge is limited due to steep banks and rock rip-rap. There are no physical barriers within this section of river. It is currently used by canoeists, rafters, and as a training area for downriver racers. Improved river access near Cottonwood Park and Larkin Circle would facilitate increased use by fishermen and boaters. Several entities are currently proposing improvements in this area. The proposed ACOE and Community Coalition Flood Control Project will significantly impact this section of river. The proposed project includes improving existing parks and constructing new parks along the river corridor. The section from McCarran Boulevard downstream to Pyramid Lake is a USFWS high priority reach for recovery of the LCT.
The focus of this plan is the In-Town Section of the Truckee River. This section is close to the city
centers, and has good public access, and good public interaction opportunities. Economic benefits
gained due to improvements to the river corridor will be quickly realized. The Canyon and Lower
Truckee Meadows sections are more remote from the city centers and have limited public access.
Improvements to the Canyon Section are currently being pursued by Washoe County and the
USFWS. Improvements to the Lower Truckee Meadows Section will be constrained by the final
design for the Regional Flood Control Project and the USFWS. Specific cost estimates and
economic benefits were only calculated for the In-Town Section of the Truckee River. However,
the vision of a continuous safe in-stream corridor, a bike trail, and public access to the water's
edge are applicable to all three sections of the Truckee River. The elements in this plan will allow
for year-round boating, providing a safe and fun river experience for beginner and intermediate
boaters, including inner tubers, rafters, canoeists, and kayakers.