Turkeys, jackrabbits, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, deer, lizards, golden eagles, hawks, and on and on. These are just a few of the critters that can be found at Newell Open Space. We, in American Canyon, are so lucky to have access to such wonderful, diverse, and healthy natural resources. Access… that is what I am talking about.

To access the Newell Open Space, one must hike a fairly crude dirt path for a half mile from the end of Newell Drive, just north of Donaldson Way, along the Newell Creek. At the end of the path is a pedestrian gate that provides access to the larger Newell Open Space.

The City received a grant last year to improve access to the Newell Open Space. The City has hired a firm to complete the design of, not only this first half mile, but also an additional half mile of trails which leads to access into the heart of the Newell Open Space.

The grant we received pays for the first half mile. Last year, our City Council convinced a nearby developer to donate $100,000 to Newell Open Space. We are hoping that this donation comes through soon so that we can build the second half mile at the same time as the first half mile.

In addition, our own American Canyon Community & Parks Foundation dedicated proceeds from last year’s An Evening at the Ruins towards the completion of the first portion of the trail. During this unforgettable event, several families donated funds to purchase picnic tables and benches along the paths. In total, the ACCPF and their members donated more than $30,000 to help complete the trail.

Here is where we are in the design process:

  • Conceptual plan for the parking lot improvement is complete
  • Trail alignment is set pending some adjustments in property ownership
  • Grading plan is complete for the first quarter mile
  • Trail cross-section is set as an 8’ wide compacted, stabilized surface, like the Wetlands Trail; there will be separate mowed area for equestrian users
  • We are working through a few change orders with the designer, including one to provide water and power to the open space and to improve the design for the street and sidewalk of Newell Drive
  • Due to a few bumps in the road, the design is a little behind schedule; our anticipated completion date is by the end of the summer
  • Next steps include bidding and construction

map of park map of park

But… that’s not all! We are in active conversation with the Napa Resource Conservation District (RCD). They have received a grant to improve stream water quality in the Napa River Basin. Our Newell Creek may qualify! Currently our loop trail is under staff review (this is the longer trail that travels up to the ridge and connects to Lynch Canyon). If it qualifies, RCD will bring in a contractor to work on our loop trail to improve drainage and decrease erosion and sediment in the creek. This means that we would have an improved loop trail, too. Wow!!

Once complete, we will have more than one mile of new trails to access Newell Open Space, along with, potentially, another two and a half to three miles of improved loop trails from the Napa RCD. If it all works out, almost all the roads and trails in Newell Open Space will be improved and open to the public to increase access to such a wonderful close-to-home amenity!!!

Stay tuned to the ACCPF website and Facebook page for updates. You may also want to sign up for the City Manager Friday Updates for more detailed information as the project progresses.