Planning Process and Community Engagement

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Beginning in Spring 2020, the Planning Department will be facilitating an expansive engagement process to collect feedback from throughout the community, and to establish consensus around the trail’s physical and programmatic features. Through the Merced River Trail Community Speaker + Engagement Series, people who are passionate about and interested in the project can both shape the project’s vision, goals, principles, and priorities, and learn about the Merced River corridor’s singular cultural and ecological assets. Part lecture, part workshop, these events rely on the expansive knowledge of local experts in topics like the Native American history, botany, and wildlife characteristics of the river canyon, and invite interested stakeholders to share their thoughts in a variety of ways throughout the planning process.

To help develop and implement the trail’s engagement program, the county has empaneled an official advisory committee called the Merced River Trail Community Working Group (CWG). In addition to providing crucial technical expertise on topics related to trail planning, the CWG ensures that the Community Speaker + Engagement Series is reaching a diversity of stakeholders from throughout the county, and asking the right questions to effectively imagine and implement a shared vision for the trail. You can learn more about the group and stay up to date with their meetings here. Be sure to select " Merced River Trail Community Working Group" from the drop down box under " Meeting Group".

While the series provides opportunities to participate in the process in person, community members do not need to attend the events to weigh in on the projects. After each event, the engagement materials will be posted below, so that those who weren’t able to make it to the event can print out and complete the exercises from home and return them to the Planning Department. Hard copies will also be available at the Planning Department’s offices.

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Merced River Trail Community Speaker + Engagement Series

This space will be updated as the series unfolds throughout 2020. Check back for updates, including the engagement materials from each meeting for those who weren’t able to attend an event but would still like to participate. Completed engagement materials can be delivered to the Planning Department at 5100 Bullion Street  or emailed to

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DIalogue #1: Native American Sense of Place + Project Vision

Irene A. Vasquez is the secretary for the American Indian Council of Mariposa County (Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation) and an expert in eco-cultural uses of native plants. Learn about the river canyon’s place in generations of indigenous history, while shaping the Merced River Trail Master Plan’s guiding vision and aspirations.

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Vision Exercise

At the February workshop, participants completed an exercise to determine the project vision for the Merced RIver Trail master plan. If you weren’t able to make it to the workshop but would still like to participate in the process, never fear! 

Click here to download the workshop exercise, which you can then print out and complete at home. When you’ve completed the exercise, you can either mail or deliver it to the Mariposa County Planning Department (5100 Bullion Street // Mariposa, CA// 95338) or email it to Mikey Goralnik (  

You can download Irene Vasquez’s presentation, “Wakaalmuto,” here. Please refrain from reproducing any of the images without Ms. Vasquez’s consent. 

Dialogue #2: Botanical Character + Project Goals

With so many botanical experts in our community, it was too hard to pick just one. Instead, join one of many local botany experts on a guided walk along the existing Merced River Trail to enjoy and learn about the spring wildflower bloom, and share your thoughts on the master plan’s primary goals.

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