I drove southwest for twenty miles down country back roads lined with almond orchards from McConnell SRA to George Hatfield State Recreation Area. Hatfield is the last of the four San Joa-quin valley state recreation areas on the closure list, and like McConnell, will be remaining open.
Like McConnell, Hatfield SRA is on the Merced River and provides picnicking, fishing and swimming. It does not have camping facilities, but appears to more readily able to accommodate large picnic groups.
A Raven greeted me at the park entrance. The twenty mile change in geography had brought me to a slightly marshier environment, although the water fowl were completely absent on this early April afternoon.
From a financial, "save the parks" standpoint, Hatfield and McConnell recreation areas have essentially been handled as a single entity. Last week it was announced that enough money from a variety of sources was raised to temporarily keep both parks open.
In February Deidre Kelsey, District 4 Supervisor for Merced County, gave $2,500 of her special district funds as seed money for the Save Our River Parks group. Additional funds include $5,000 from the city of Newman, a $10,000 special district fund loan from Merced County and $20,000 from the State Parks Founda-tion. Several small donations from $20 to $100 also helped the group reach its goal.
But, this is just for the next twelve months. There is still uncertainty as to the fate of Hatfield a year from now. Merced County has kept open two favorite family recreation areas for another year, so get out there and enjoy them.
I hope to see you at the State Parks.
This blog is dedicated to the memory of my Father, who loved reading maps, exploring alternate routes, and taking the road less traveled.
Alvin David Dick
April 28, 1926 - May 20, 2012