This rare, free-flowing, canoeable waterway supports rich wildlife and riparian oak forests. The last free-flowing river within the Central Valley, The Nature Conservancy has designated the Cosumnes one of the “Last Great Places” and created the Cosumnes River Preserve. With a consortium of partners, the 37,000-acre Cosumnes River Preserve works to preserve habitats from conversion to agricultural uses and urbanization, while promoting research, educating the public, and providing recreation. The river’s floods and dry periods foster dynamic processes, provide a variety of habitats, and promote abundant biological diversity. Today the Cosumnes River Preserve is one of the few remaining examples of pristine native habitat and wildlife that once characterized much of the Central Valley. Some notable features of the preserve are the Great Oaks Forest, the annual fall migration of sandhill cranes, and the winding waterways and wetlands. Scheduled activities usually include bird-watching tours, bird counts, and guided canoe trips. The preserve location on the Pacific Flyway attracts many resident and migratory wildlife species. To better enjoy the bird watching, obtain “A Field Checklist for Birds of the Cosumnes River Preserve” at the visitor center. This is where the Cosumnes River meets the tidelands of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. The water depth varies several feet every day, so consult tide tables to avoid being stranded on low water mud bars. As always, try to paddle with the tide rather than against it.
© Charlie Pike/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.