Merced River Trail
Overview and description
In 1987, significant portions of both the main stem and South Fork of the Merced River were included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This requires federal agencies with jurisdiction in the Wild and Scenic area to develop management plans to enable those agencies to preserve and enhance the outstandingly remarkable values identified in the designation. In this case, federal Wild and Scenic River planning initiatives identified a priority for a non-motorized recreation trail in key areas of the planning area, including nearly 23 miles of the Merced River canyon in BLM, USFS, and NPS jurisdiction.
Beginning in 2018, Mariposa County led the development of the Merced River Trail Vision Plan to articulate locally supported priorities to guide implementation of this inter-agency federal priority. Through extensive stakeholder engagement led by the Merced River Trail Community Working Group, the County solicited and synthesized local input into a vision statement, goals, and recommended project actions for ensuring that the trail is built, programmed, and maintained in ways that support Mariposa County’s diverse preferences and perspectives for the trail and landscape.
On March 21, 2023, the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Resolution 2023-165, which adopted the Merced River Trail Vision Plan and authorized staff to pursue implementing the Plan’s recommendations. Click on the links below to read the adopted plan and its appendices.
Merced River Trail Community Working Group
The county empaneled an official advisory committee called the Merced River Trail Community Working Group (CWG) to facilitate the development of the Vision Plan. Initially, the CWG’s responsibilities included ensuring appropriate participation in the vision plan development process, providing technical expertise in topic areas germane to the Merced River Trail Master Plan, supporting county staff in answering critical questions that arise in the plan development process, and providing periodic updates to the Board of Supervisors regarding the effort.
With the adoption of the Vision Plan, the CWG’s role will move from supporting the planning effort to supporting the implementation of the plan’s recommendations. It is anticipated that their mandate will be updated to reflect this new mission in Spring 2023.