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squat, pugnacious burrowing owl, a somewhat comical creature I’d seen only once before. I’m more a bird “noticer” than a birdwatcher, and I’m not an Audubon Society member, but it never fails to lift my spirits seeing these beautiful and extraordinary creatures in a place so close to home.


Many, including those who live close by, are probably unaware of its existence.



recent ride on the Ueda Parkway bike path made me both happy and sad. I was virtually alone out there. Almost no one knows about the parkway, which lies about a half mile east of Northgate Boulevard. I encountered just one other cyclist on the 4-milelong path from the Arden Garden Connector to the path’s end just north of Main Road. The parkway extends another two miles from there beside the virtually trafficfree East Levee Road. The Ueda Parkway bike path is not as attractive or natural as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Bicycle Trail in the American River Parkway (even considering the spate of fires along the American River). If the American River Parkway is a wellknown and frequently visited jewel, the Ueda Parkway is more like a hidden, tarnished semiprecious stone. The Ueda path runs atop a levee next to Steelhead Creek, which used to be called the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal. Though its watershed is quite large, extending well into Placer County by way of Dry Creek and other tributaries, the manmade channel with its desultory


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flow is far different from the scenic American River. The Ueda bike path, instead of having intriguing curves and gentle rises and falls, runs straight and level—a north/south beeline. The steep levee sides are featureless and treeless, so the path

is without shade. The high path is exposed to strong, buffeting winds. Though there’s little water in the channel this year, the parkway is habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. On my ride, I saw ducks, Canada geese, great egrets, a great blue heron and a pheasant. I saw a

Besides being good for wildlife observation, the Ueda Parkway path is a great place for fitness training. There are no disruptions to continuous, heart-strengthening exercise. The path dips below most of the few streets it intersects, so there are no stop signs or street crossings with vehicle traffic. Generally, you don’t have to worry about close encounters with other cyclists or joggers, either. They are all someplace else. The wind usually provides extra resistance, at least in one direction, to make you work harder. It’s a shame more people don’t enjoy the Ueda experience. There was never a grand opening for the parkway path, and it has never had much publicity. Many, including those who live close by, are probably unaware of its existence. Others who do see it as they drive by on West El Camino Avenue, Silver Eagle Road, I-80 or Main Avenue may think it is a maintenance road. Plans for a

East sacramento jan 2016