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Ripons river picnic escapes


The Bulletin

There’s nothing that compares with a family picnic in Ripon with its lush riparian woodlands along the Stanislaus River and a unique picnic area carved out of the entrance to Stouffer Park on Manley Drive.

The entrance to the Stanislaus River Park area is just off Parallel Avenue – a Frontage Road that runs along Highway 99 – and is open to walkers and bicyclists alike that take them to the bike bridge and to the best in picnic surroundings where families can spread their blankets and enjoy nature to its fullest.

Small wildlife from squirrels to red foxes frequent the banks of the river that is flowing pretty high at the present time.  Ripon police patrols keep the area safe from unruly folks that might cause a problem with families out for a day of fun.  Officers do not allow camping by homeless individuals in the area and use four wheel quads to regularly patrol the locale.

Ripon residents who live in nearby neighborhoods can simply walk a mile into the park with their picnic baskets to enjoy a simple weekend by the river creating memories in the process as they spread out their blankets for a quick family outing.

Just to the north of the Stanislaus River Park is Stouffer Park that was left to the city by its benefactors Wes and Mavis Stouffer who made a sizeable contribution when living in the city years ago and left their ranch property to be used for the park with its many trees and vines.  Wes was the superintendent of the Ripon School District and taught at Ripon High as well. The entrance to Stouffer Park is on Manley Drive just off East Main Street and eventually leads to areas near the Stanislaus River.

At the entrance are new roof covered picnic tables on both sides of the entrance amid a lush green carpet of lawn that welcomes picnic goers with a backdrop of redwood trees. Large groups planning to use the park are required to go to city hall and register the date and time of their planned use. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email