Should the Woodbridge Wilderness Area be open year round instead of two weekends a month? Two members of the San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Commission think so. The idea will be presented at Tuesday’s commission meeting at Micke Grove Park.
Commissioners Mary Avanti of Woodbridge and Mary Fuhs of Acampo will push for the undeveloped wilderness area in the River Meadows subdivision to be open at all times to their commission colleagues. The Parks and Recreation’s vote will be advisory only. The final decision will be at the county Board of Supervisors’ discretion.
The 17-acre wilderness area was closed when a devastating fire in September 2008 scorched the area and threatened homes. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors kept the wilderness area closed because of county budget cuts until Fuhs and Avanti talked the board into opening it up on alternate weekends with volunteers making sure that the wilderness area isn’t damaged.
“I think we’ve proven ourselves,” Avanti said. “We’ve had no problems of any kind last year.”
Fuhs and Avanti propose having county personnel staff the wilderness area entrance on weekends from May 1 to Oct. The rest of the time, there would be no gatekeeper, Avanti said.
“You don’t need somebody there,” she added. “A lot more families come — fishermen, bird watchers — they have respect for that riparian area.”
Known originally as Woodbridge Regional Park, San Joaquin County acquired the 17-acre property between Woodbridge Road and the south bank of the Mokelumne River on Dec. 17, 1985, when the county accepted a grant deed from George and Rosemary Ferrero. The stipulation from the Ferreros was that it was to be used as a park.
The Ferreros dedicated the land to satisfy a condition that a subdivider convey the land to the county in lieu of park fees.
The name was changed to Woodbridge Wilderness Area in early 2005 to make it clear that the area doesn't have any actual park services, such as picnic tables and barbecues.
Tuesday’s county Parks and Recreation Commission meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Micke Grove Regional Park Memorial Building, 11793 N. Micke Grove Road, Lodi.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.