twitter icon facebook icon youtube icon instagram icon

Stories from the valley

District 56, The Preserve: Elk Grove’s Largest Natural Park Space

Contributed by Carl Gwyn

A new addition to the over 100 parks in the City of Elk Grove is the 28-acre Preserve in what is known as District 56. The Preserve has a 4.3-acre lake, fitness course, great playground, wheelchair accessible paths and more. Located on what was previously a pistachio farm, the Preserve provides a great place for walking, playing or just relaxing.   

I began my exploration at the southeast corner of the park at the old silo, which is the only structure of the previous farm that remains. I then set out to walk every path and had a delightful time of discovery. 

informational signage next to the pond at District 56 Preserve

Interpretive signs are placed along the paths informing the visitor about its previous life as a farm and the importance that agriculture played to the area. Other signs highlight the native plants, birds, and wildlife. 

The lake is at the center of the preserve and has the feel of the early wetlands that occupied the area. There is an observation platform on the bridge that crosses the lake with a detailed description of the wildlife one would expect to encounter in, around and on the lake. Already ducks and geese were enjoying the lake and its islands.

While being a great place to relax and soak in nature, the recreational aspect was not ignored. The fitness course has instructions and a nice assortment of exercise equipment, and the playground is every child’s dream with great opportunities to run, climb and slide. The large green “mountain” at the center was a particular draw. Just across from the playground is a huge playing field that just beckons visitors to play soccer, ultimate frisbee and other activities that require a large area. 

silo in a field at nature preserve

Work is still in progress to restore the natural habitat of an oaken woodland with new plantings of native grasses and trees, 

There are lots of opportunities for picnicking, but if you would like to dine onsite, the Café Elk Grove located in the Community Center on the north end of the Preserve is a great place to eat. I found they had a nice selection with reasonable prices along with indoor and outdoor seating. 

For more information and directions, please click here. 

This is a great place to spend some time with the whole family.