Creating and improving recreational opportunities supports the Delta's economy and heritage.

The Measure

Recreation opportunities increase throughout the Delta and Suisun Marsh. 

  • Expectations

    Implemented recreation opportunities in the Delta and Suisun Marsh identified in the California State Parks Recreation Proposal.

  • Performance Metrics

    • Number of regional recreation proposal recommendations and outcomes in Delta and Suisun Marsh, evaluated annually.

Recreation Opportunities in the Delta

This chart shows the implementation status of the California State Parks 2011 Recreation Proposal Report recommendations in the Delta and Suisun Marsh.

Map of Current and Proposed State Parks

Existing and Potential State Parks (*)

1. Delta Meadows and Locke Boarding House
2. Stone Lake
3. Brannan Island SRA (State Recreation Area)
4. Franks Tract SRA
5. Old Sacramento SHP and California Indian Heritage Center
6. Caswell Memorial SRA
7. Bethany Reservoir SRA
8. SHP at John Marsh/Cowell Ranch
9. Benicia Capitol SHP and Benicia SRA
10. Barker Slough*
11. Elkhorn Basin*
12. South Delta*
13. Wright-Elmwood Tract*

The Delta and Suisun Marsh region has a mix of land and water and offers diverse and authentic recreation opportunities. Many visitors and locals enjoy boating, fishing, cultural tourism, agricultural tourism, and the Delta’s natural landscapes.

To support recreation in the Delta, the California Department of Parks and Recreation developed a recreation proposal for the Delta and Suisun Marsh. The recreation proposal presents recommendations for protecting and enhancing recreational opportunities in the Delta. The recommendations include ways to invite more visitors and residents to enjoy and appreciate the Delta and Suisun Marsh region.

Implementation of these recommendations should be coordinated with funding availability and other changes in the region. Tracking the implementation of the recommendations will provide information on the enhancement of Delta recreation.

In March 2019, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act was signed into law, which established the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area and authorized up to $10 million (up to $1 million annually) for community-based efforts to conserve the Delta’s cultural heritage and historical landmarks.

Each chapter of the Delta plan includes strategies to achieve the goals of the plan. These strategies are general guidance on achieving the objective laid out in the plan and in the Delta Reform Act of 2009. Associated with these strategies are recommendations. The recommendations describe more specific and implementable actions to support the achievement of Delta Plan strategies. Strategies may also have associated performance measures. Delta Plan performance measures track progress in achieving desired outcomes for the Delta Plan. Below are the strategies and recommendations associated with this performance measure. 

Delta Plan Strategy
  • Encourage Recreation and Tourism
Delta Plan Recommendations
  • Provide New and Protect Existing Recreation Opportunities
  • Encourage Partnerships to Support Recreation and Tourism
  • Expand State Recreation Areas
  • Enhance Nature-based Recreation
  • Promote Boating Safety
  • Encourage Recreation on Public Lands
  • Enhance Opportunities for Visitor-serving Businesses
  • Provide Public Access on Appropriately-located Delta Levees

Number of regional Recreation Proposal recommendations and outcomes implemented within the Delta and Suisun Marsh, evaluated annually.


Measured as of the date of the regional Recreation Proposal completion in 2011.


Implementation of the recommendations and outcomes put forward within the Recreation Proposal, to be achieved by 2025.


California State Parks 

Delta Meadows and Locke Boarding House, Completed – Improvements were made as a part of a prop 84 bond in 2012

Stone Lake, Partial – They have continued educational programs. They have not updated the California Recreational Trails Plan since this recommendation

Brannan Island SRA (State Recreation Area), Completed in 2011

Franks Tract SRA, Current ongoing planning for Franks Tract is occurring as a DWR project

Existing California State Parks outside the Delta

Old Sacramento SHP California Indian Heritage Center (CIHC), Completed for Old Sacramento. CIHC has $100 million budget from Governor Brown for 2018-2019

Caswell Memorial SP (State Park), Completed in 2008

Bethany Reservoir SRA, Completed in 2013

State Historic Park at John Marsh/Cowell Ranch, On January 27, 2012, the California State Park and Recreation Commission approved the General Plan and named the new California State Historic Park, Marsh Creek State Park (formerly known as Cowell Ranch/John Marsh State Historic Park)

Benicia Capitol SHP and Benicia SRA, Completed in 2014

Potential Future State Parks in the Delta-Suisun Marsh Region

Barker Slough, Proposed in 2011

Elkhorn Basin, Not complete

Wright-Elmwood Tract, Not complete

South Delta (possibly in the Old River area), Not complete

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

Incorporate recreation into proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan restoration areas, providing boat-in campsites, floating toilets, docks, fishing piers, and other facilities where feasible, Not complete

California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW)

Explore recreation potential for the Cache Slough complex. Acquire flooded islands as feasible and develop them for environmental restoration and outdoor recreation, primarily wildlife observation, boating, fishing, and hunting. Coordinate with DWR, Yolo and Solano Counties, and landowners, Partial – Some Consideration from DWR and the Delta Conservancy but there has been no comprehensive or specific recreational plan for Cache Slough yet

Investigate the addition of recreation facilities as part of an expanded San Joaquin River floodplain at Mossdale/Vernalis, Not complete

Improve environmental interpretation of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, including Yolo Bypass, Suisun Marsh/Grizzly Island and Lower Sherman Island Wildlife Areas, and Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, Not complete

Consider partnering with Suisun City, Solano Land Trust, private duck clubs, and others on an ecotourism program promoting low-carbon excursions by Amtrak from the Bay Area to Suisun Marsh, Bay, and City businesses. Collaborate with agencies, nonprofit partners, private landowners, and businesses to expand other wildlife observation, angling, and hunting opportunities where feasible, Not complete

Continue providing boating facilities, including launching facilities, public visitor docks, boat-in day use and overnight facilities, vessel pump-out facilities, floating restrooms, and floating campsites, Completed

Division of Boating and Waterways and California Department of Transportation

Develop with agencies, a regional water trail plan, Completed

Coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies on an updated marine patrol strategy for the region, a regional invasive species monitoring and prevention plan, and streamlining abandoned and derelict vessel removal, Partial - but focused on local levels, not regional or federal; patrol and invasive completed in 2013, Vessels completed in 2010

Seek National Scenic Byway status for Hwy. 160. Prepare a scenic byway plan that incorporates recreation features such as improved signage and way finding, pullouts for interpretation, river access, bank fishing, and, where feasible, sidewalks and/or traffic-separated bikeways to facilitate non-motorized travel and improve regional trails. Construct these facilities in coordination with other highway improvements, Not complete

Division of Boating and Waterways and Department of Water Resources

Interpret Highway 84 historic ferries and the region’s historic bridges, Not complete

Provide a roadside rest area with Delta interpretation along a scenic stretch of Interstate 5, Not complete

Support bicycle trails with grants and technical assistance, Completed in 2015

Increase access to publicly-owned areas at Twitchell and Sherman Islands with signage and publicity for bank fishing areas, hunting programs, levee-top trails, and environmental education, Not complete

Department of Water Resources and State Lands Commission

Consider recreation improvements, when feasible, at new State Water Project facilities in the Delta, such as intakes and forebays; incorporate interpretation into proposed water infrastructure, Not complete

Update the California Water Plan to encourage recreation at water management facilities, Partial

Provide financial and technical support to Integrated Regional Water Management groups for projects that enhance recreation, Yes

Collaborate with agencies to interpret the State Water Project and US Bureau of Reclamation water conveyance facilities such as the Delta Cross Channel, Banks Pumping Plant, Clifton Court Forebay, and Bethany Reservoir in appropriate locations, Not complete

Consider adding recreation facilities for bank fishing, windsurfing, hunting, and other appropriate activities at Clifton Court Forebay, Not complete

Consider recreation opportunities at flooded islands that cannot be reclaimed cost-effectively after disasters, Not complete

Incorporate shoreline access, trails, boat ramps, hunting opportunities, and interpretive facilities as appropriate in restoration projects at Dutch Slough, McCormack-Williamson Tract, Suisun Marsh, and other sites, Partial in the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project

Develop a strategy for managing the impact of rising seas on docks and marinas in navigable waterways. Maintain, to the extent feasible, navigable waterways, Completed in Preliminary Assessment Report 2018

Delta Protection Commission

Gain approval for, establish, and manage a National Heritage Area, Partial – Establishment Act in both chambers of U.S. Congress

Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy, and California Coastal Conservancy

Update the management plan to encourage new development to provide public access to the Delta shoreline unless 1) it is inconsistent with public safety or the protection of fragile resources, 2) adequate access exists nearby, or 3) agriculture would be adversely affected, Not complete

Coordinate completion of the Great California Delta Trail, Yes in 2015

Collaborate with others to enhance agritourism, Not complete

Encourage tourism and enhance visitor services with websites, maps, and events, and support technical assistance and training for businesses, Not complete

Collaborate with other agencies and nonprofits to develop recreation opportunities in ecosystem restoration areas, Yes in 2015

Delta Conservancy and California Coastal Conservancy Trail 

Cooperate with the DPC to prepare an environmental and cultural education strategy for the region, Not complete

Collaborate with State and local agencies including the DPC and businesses to promote recreation and tourism that support Delta economic sustainability, Yes in 2015

California Recreational Trails System: California Recreational Trails System in the Delta. Connect trails to existing recreation areas that provide facilities such as drinking water, campgrounds, and toilets. Increase promotional activities such as trail events and map distribution. Additional recommendations for individual trails:

American Discovery Trail (ADT): This system of multi-use recreational trails and roads connects the San Francisco Bay Area to the American River and beyond, ultimately extending from coast to coast. Complete planning for and improve the ADT route through the Delta by designating or constructing traffic separated trails for hiking, bicycle, and equestrian use where feasible, and provide signage and interpretation. Consider using West Sacramento’s Clarksburg Branch Line Trail as ADT from West Sacramento to Clarksburg, Completed in 2011

Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail (MCCT): This multi-use trail connects the Mokelumne River to the San Francisco Bay Area, often along East Bay Municipal Utility District rights of way. Complete planning for and improve the route through the Delta by designating or constructing traffic-separated trails for multi-use where feasible, and provide signage and interpretation, Completed in 2011

Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail (Anza): This shared-use trail and auto route traces the historic route of the Spanish pathfinder from Mexico to San Francisco, skirting the West Delta in Contra Costa County. State and local agencies, and the National Park Service should partner to improve signage and interpretation, Completed in 2011

Bay Area Ridge Trail and the San Francisco Bay Trail link Contra Costa and Solano counties across the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. Connect these popular routes to Suisun Marsh trails, Delta land and water trails, and nearby recreation lands and facilities, Completed in 2011

Other Major Trail Systems. Complete multi-modal trails and support facilities for the following long-distance trails, including adding these to the California Recreational Trails System:

  • Great California Delta Trail: Cooperate with the DPC and local agencies such as East Bay Regional Park District to integrate the ADT, MCCT, Anza, and other land and water trails into this network, Completed in 2011

Marsh Creek Trail: Complete this trail in Contra Costa County, which winds along Marsh Creek from Oakley to the state historic park at John Marsh’s home in Brentwood and East Bay Regional Park District’s Round Valley Regional Park., Completed in 2011

Sacramento and San Joaquin River Water Trails:

  • Organize and promote river recreation at boat-in campsites and day-use areas at existing parks and marinas. Use guidebooks, events, and the Internet, Completed in 2011

  • Collaborate with DBW, CDFW, DPC, and other organizations on the development of water trail facilities, Completed in 2011

San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail: Collaborate on the development of water trail interpretation at Benicia SRA to connect this trail to other proposed water trails, Completed in 2011

California Delta Heritage Corridor:

  • The California Delta Heritage Corridor would link historic Delta communities, recreation areas, wildlife and fish habitats, agritourism attractions and festivals, and Delta excursion boats, Completed in 2011

  • Increase support and cooperation among public agencies for resource preservation, especially if National Heritage Area status is a possibility, Completed in 2011

  • Partner with Delta stakeholders to improve amenities for visitors, such as maps, brochures, a website, multi-lingual programs, and kiosks., Completed in 2011

Delta/Suisun Marsh Birding Trail: Connect the region’s many Important Bird Areas (as designated by Audubon California) with an auto route. Partner with Delta stakeholders to connect and interpret sites such as Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, Cosumnes River Preserve, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Jepson Grasslands, Suisun Marsh, Benicia SRA, and Concord Marshes., Completed in 2011

U.S. Congress

Proposed National Heritage Area (NHA), Completed in 2019


Council staff will track the status of this PM meeting Recommendations and Outcomes detailed in the Recreation Proposal for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Council staff will also track alternative sources for proposed projects, programs or plans, as noted above.

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