About SARA

The Save the American River Association, (SARA) is a grass roots organization established in 1961 to spearhead the establishment of the American River Parkway (the "crown jewel" of the Sacramento County Park System) and adoption of the American River Parkway Plan 2008. Our mission is to protect and enhance the wildlife habitat, fishery, and recreational resources of the American River Parkway. Our volunteer, non-profit group of more than 600 members and Board of Directors work to ensure that the American River Parkway will survive and prosper for the benefit of future generations.

The American River and Parkway

The American River Parkway is the crown jewel of the Sacramento Regional Parks system that is in the care and custody of Sacramento County. The Parkway is an open space greenbelt on both sides of the American River that extends approximately 29 miles from Folsom Dam to the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers. The Lower American River is the 23-mile portion of the Parkway located between Nimbus Dam and the confluence of the two Rivers and has been designated as a Wild and Scenic River by both the State of California and the Federal Government.

What We Do

SARA is the only local volunteer organization with the primary mission of protecting and, when necessary, fighting for the public interest in land and water issues concerning the Lower American River and the Parkway. Some of our achievements and responsibilities include:

  • Serving as advocate in cases where publicly owned Parkway property or zoning ordinances are threatened by private and commercial interests.
  • Serving as the American River advocate on the Sacramento Water Forum, a diverse group working to ensure a stable water supply through the year 2030, while protecting the resources of the river and the parkway.
  • Providing representation on many local agencies and advisory boards with an interest in the river and its assets.

Serving as plaintiff (with Sacramento County and the Environmental Defense Fund) in a lawsuit against East Bay Municipal District to prevent their taking American River water except under stipulated conditions. The 17-year legal battle resulted in a landmark decision setting minimum flow standards acceptable for fishery and recreational needs.

See current land and water-related issues.

Board Meetings

The SARA Board of Directors meets every third Tuesday of the month (except for August) at 7 p.m. at the SARA office (8836 Greenback Lane, Suite C Orangevale, CA 95662). August is generally a board vacation month. In December the SARA Annual Meeting (the first Saturday in December) serves as the SARA board meeting. Members and guests are welcome to attend board meetings.





American River


Fall scene on the American River


American River rapids


American River and Parkway photography by Guy Galante.