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One of the jewels of Sparks
by Dan McGee, For the Tribune
Apr 29, 2010 | 2040 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Dan McGee - Out for a family ride on the Sparks River Path, Christina Andrews rides shotgun with her two sons as Joshua Acree leads his brother Matthew into Glendale Park.
Tribune/Dan McGee - Out for a family ride on the Sparks River Path, Christina Andrews rides shotgun with her two sons as Joshua Acree leads his brother Matthew into Glendale Park.
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The Sparks river path is a gift the Rail City offers its residents and visitors. Running beside the Truckee River, it offers everything from a good place to walk, run, bike, find solitude in an urban area or just sit, relax and watch the water flow by.

Beginning at Fisherman's Park, north of the Glendale Bridge, it travels west past three different parks – Rock, Glendale and Cottonwood – before ending by the Union Pacific tracks by Larkin Circle some 5.84 miles later.

According to Rick Darby of the Sparks Parks and Recreation Department, the path was originally built in the 1970s around Cottonwood Park, east of the McCarran Boulevard Bridge.

Over the years it was lengthened and occasionally, due to erosion, floods or other reasons, moved or improved in certain areas. Two recent examples are the new concrete section at Rock Park and Cottonwood Park, where new asphalt smoothed out bumps that used to be there.

The only steep grade is at Fisherman's Park and where the path goes under the Glendale Bridge. After that it undulates as it winds along the river so it's suitable for almost anyone.

Depending on the day of the week, traffic can be somewhat heavy with walkers, runners, families, dog walkers and bike riders. Although most of the path varies from nine to 10-feet wide, everyone needs to realize it's a shared space.

Darby added that bike traffic has increased in recent years, which makes consideration for others very important. Walkers need to be aware of faster moving traffic and not spread out across the path.

Many runners or bikers, but sadly not all, help the situation by warning walkers which side they'll be passing on. Consideration of others is key having an enjoyable time along the river.

There is some wildlife that lives along the river and one particular group of residents needs to be shown a certain amount of respect. Those in the know always yield the right-of-way to the few skunks that live by the path.

Failure to do so can lead to a rather smelly encounter.

In 2003, a Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway was proposed and the river path was included as part of this ambitious project. Some time in the future, the bikeway might link both lakes and offer many biking possibilities.

But for now, it's a jewel the city of Sparks offers to all.
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One of the jewels of Sparks by Dan McGee, For the Tribune


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