The Napa Valley is famous for its world-renowned wines and picturesque vineyards, but there's a hidden gem that's often overlooked—the Napa River. The Napa RiverLine project, a community initiative to expand recreational opportunities and access to the Napa River, aims to create a scenic, water-oriented walkway that will benefit the local community and the region.
The RiverLine project is a partnership between the City of Napa’s Economic Development team and stakeholders in the Oxbow that is designed to enhance the natural beauty, environmental benefits, and recreational value of the Napa River. By building on existing sustainability initiatives like the Napa River Flood Project, the project aims to safeguard the river's water quality, wildlife habitat value, and riparian corridor, preserving and restoring its valuable resources and landscapes.
In addition, the RiverLine project seeks to improve visibility and local access to the river by connecting it to the River Trail, Vine Trail, Oxbow Commons, and Downtown—making the riverfront a vital component for active and passive recreation, enhancing connectivity along the river, and providing additional safe access points. Moreover, the project is envisioned to create a platform to educate visitors on sustaining the health of the watershed and celebrate the diverse cultural expressions and ethnic groups that are part of Napa's rich history.
Investing in one of Napa's greatest assets, the RiverLine project offers new benefits to Napa's local economy. The connectivity element of the project activates adjacent riverfront properties, businesses, and parks while also creating opportunities for community involvement in education, art, and stewardship programs centered on the RiverLine.
Given that the river is the heart of The Oxbow, the partnership between the stakeholders and the project is critical. The RiverLine concept emerged from a 2018 report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) that called for better orientation of The Oxbow to the Napa River. The Oxbow Task Force, consisting of property and stakeholders in The Oxbow, formed a subcommittee focused on the RiverLine project in 2022. Graduate students from UC Berkeley are examining the RiverLine as part of an urban planning and design studio throughout this spring to generate concepts and ideas for the future of the project.
The RiverLine project is just getting started, and the Napa community’s passion for the river will propel this exciting initiative forward. To learn more about the project and its next steps, visit: https://napariverline.org/