The Sacramento Valley Conservancy’s new hiding spot, unveiled

The preserved open space was a project three years in the making

Photo by Anthony Siino

The Sacramento Valley Conservancy is celebrating the end of a mission three years in the making—the opening of 11 acres of preserved woodland and riverbanks in the north city that’s open for anyone in the public to enjoy.

Known as Camp Pollock, the space is located at 467 Del Paso Boulevard and includes shady fields, a native plant garden, camping spaces, a rentable lodge and one of the only access points to the American River by Discovery Park where parking is free.

Since the 1920s this riparian oasis had been private property owned by the Boy Scouts of America. The SVC managed to buy the land three years ago to preserve it as permanent open space.

“This is a really positive development for anyone living around Del Paso Boulevard, or anyone in the area who’s been waiting for a project like this,” said Aimee Rutledge, Executive Director of SVC.

The SVC is a nonprofit organization that’s rescued 17,600 acres of open space from commercial development in the Sacramento region since its formation 25 years ago. It’s now managing Camp Pollock in accordance with the State Lands Commission’s American River Parkway Plan. The initial push to make Camp Pollock a nature retreat for all Sacramantans came from SVJ Board Member Bob Slobe, whose family owns North Sacramento Land Co. and were the original philanthropists to donate the land to the Boy Scouts in the 1920s.

“Bob Slobe helped start the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, and he’s really tied to this property through his family history,” said Kelly Hopkins, communications director for SVC. “He knew it was just the type of project the conservancy gets involved with when it comes to habitat protection and open space.”

From sunrise to sunset, Camp Pollock is now open for people to wander through its trees and watch for birds, bark beetles, deer and wild turkey. Hopkins said that elementary school classes from urban neighborhoods have already been showing up for lively field trips.

In the years since purchasing Camp Pollock, the SVC has completed a $1 million renovation to its lodge and is now starting a $500,000 upgrade to other parts of its facilities. The SVC is celebrating the completion of its first phase of the project with a farm-to-fork fundraiser on the grounds Nov. 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event features live music, craft beer, and wine and culinary creations from ingredients harvested in the small farms operating on land the SVC has already preserved.

“We’re a small organization trying to do big things,” Hopkins stressed. “But when folks come to a place like Camp Pollock, I think they appreciate it. People who see it are always telling us it’s a hidden gem.”