WRT and the Mariposa Creek Parkway Master Plan project stakeholders hosted three days of community events and engagement activities in Mariposa, California.
This month, our WRT team was positioned alongside the Mariposa Creek, sharing ideas, sparking conversations, and learning more about the town and the surrounding Sierra Foothill region. In order to reach the largest audience, we constructed an on-site installation called the Gatehouse, which acted as the central organizing element around a series of community-hosted tents, booths, stations, and workshops.
In the Gatehouse, visitors could provide feedback on precedent images, site plans and maps, and perspective renderings of potential future parkway conditions. By being outside on the site, we were able to meet long-time residents, international and American tourists, students from local schools, and childhood residents who left Mariposa and are now returning to raise their families. By the end of the week, our morning visit to the coffee shop had us being greeted like locals, and we quickly knew the dog walkers and their dogs by name. Creek Week enabled the community to meet the project team, voice their thoughts and concerns, and provide valuable feedback that will build a solid foundation for the project to move forward.
Each day of Creek Week was coordinated around a theme. For Day One, Environment + Education, 100 fifth and sixth graders from Mariposa Elementary were in and around the creek learning about ecology and water quality, Native American land management practices, and the importance of native planting. Day Two was centered around Community + Creativity, and hosted the Made in Mariposa Art Market and Street Fair, a pop-up live music and beer garden, along with food trucks and flowers, and Day Three’s Health + Wellness fair brought yoga and Tai-Chi classes to the creek, a mini boot camp exercise course sponsored by a local gym, and a Fitness Over 50 training session hosted by the Mariposa Parks & Recreation Department. The conclusion of Creek Week found the community gathered on Saturday afternoon in the Arts Park for the Beat Harvest Live Show, featuring student musicians from Mariposa High School.
Mariposa is often in the path of danger as forest fires and floods consistently threaten the area throughout the year. The town also depends heavily on tourism dollars from nearby Yosemite National Park, and strives to balance the needs of locals and visitors. Mariposa is a healthy community, not unlike other small towns around the country, where a passion for place, a belief in authentic character, and a capacity for community-led civic action is able to guide economic development and drive quality of life. The recognition of the Mariposa Creek as a unique asset for the town has long been an idea voiced by many members of the community, and we are excited to be part of the team to bring it more attention and prominence. From here the project will continue to develop and refine the concepts shared during Creek Week, incorporating comments and input from the residents and tourists to create a master plan with depth and vision.