American River Recreation Association

The American River Recreation Association (ARRA) was formed in 1979 to help resolve conflicts between riparian land owners and recreational commercial and non-commercial boaters on the South Fork of the American River. Problems underlying the conflicts included trespassing, litter, sanitation, and the quantity of boaters on the river. ARRA was helpful in successful resolving many of the conflicts and developing a process for resolutions going forward. Since 1979, ARRA’s purpose has been facilitating and promoting public river access, river use education, and recreational river initiatives.

Our History

As continued river use and other recreational activities in the valley grow, the demands on the river corridor have increased. We have experienced over the last thirty-five plus years a significant increase in recreational users from all areas of our society. The South Fork of the American River has become one of the most used whitewater sections of river in the country. Additionally, the development of other recreational lands and facilities in the area have increased the usage of the river corridor as a whole. As the dynamics of the river corridor usage patterns have grown and changed, ARRA has adapted to address additional issues that require our attention.

Our Programs

We have implemented a number of programs in the South Fork of the American River corridor to promote river access and support all types of recreational uses.

A few of the projects that we are currently working on are:

  • The Coloma River Shuttle – we operate and manage the shuttle program with a grant from the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District to help shuttle private river users in the South Fork of the American River corridor.
  • Highway 49 Bridge Replacement – we are advocating for river and pedestrian/bike access and parking/traffic management with Cal Trans.
  • Mnt Murphy Bridge Replacement – we are advocating for river and pedestrian/bike access.
  • Mosquito Bridge Replacement – we are advocating for river access.
  • Henningsen Lotus Park – we are advocating for additional recreational facilities and parking.
  • El Dorado County’s property at Cronin Ranch – we are advocating for possible recreational uses on the property.
  • UARP Funds – we advocate for a portion of the SMUD relicensing funds to be spent on improvements in the river corridor.


We are currently in the planning stage for two events to help raise awareness, inform users of the South Fork American River valley and raise funds and resources to help with the numerous projects we work on.

Future Efforts

Our long term goals are to help develop resources that can support on-going recreational use of the river corridor for all types of user groups from boaters to bikers and hikers to equestrian riders.  Our relationships with the county, state and federal agencies, that all have a management role in the river valley, help us identify and plan for the future growth and recreational uses of the river corridor.

There are many approaches that have been proposed and we are planning to help facilitate the discussions with the community-at-large on what we can do to achieve these goals long term.   Here are a few of the proposals from various community meetings that we will help investigate.

1. ARRA will continue to advocate for Henningsen-Lotus County Park and any continued maintenance and improvements to the park over the next several years. We currently help raise awareness and support for the continued involvement of the County Parks and Recreation Department and the community-at-large. The project proposes several repairs, maintenance and enhancements to the existing regional park that will better support the current use and help accommodate a more diverse user base, educate the current users, and make available areas of the river park that are currently inaccessible.

2. The future of the river valley is dependent on various agencies working together to address the continued demands on its facilities.  ARRA will continue to stay involved and collaborate with local, county, state, and federal organizations and continue to focus on community development, specific fund-raising efforts to support these initiatives, and public education of recreational safety and awareness. Our mission is to continue the historical efforts of public access to the river and the lands that surround it.

3. Over the last several years, ARRA has investigated how we can continue to support the functional and financial needs of the South Fork American River valley and the facilities that county residents and tourists have come to enjoy.  There are several suggestions that have been made in discussion groups about the county parks as well as meetings with County, State, and Federal agency representatives.  Some of those have been about forming a membership association to advocate for the maintenance and improvements of the recreational facilities and others have entailed applying for grant funds, forming a volunteer community group, and researching the creation of a recreation district.  These ideas are still in their infancy and will need volunteers and community support to pursue.

All these efforts are in an effort to encourage the county, state, and federal agencies to maintain and support the recreational needs of the river valley.  Tourists and residents alike enjoy a wide range of actives in this valley and the South Fork of the American River is one of the most recreationally used river corridors in the country.

Please contact us if you have additional questions or would like to help us with any of our efforts.

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