This morning, thousands of people will cross the finish line of the Two Cities Marathon in Woodward Park. Athletes of all ages and abilities have spent months preparing for the race, logging thousands of miles on the Lewis S. Eaton Trail.
In honor of this annual local marathon, we thought you might enjoy learning more about the history of the Eaton Trail and the conservation champion it was named for.
The Lewis S. Eaton Trail is the mainstem trail of the 22-mile Parkway, and will eventually run from Friant Dam to Highway 99. The trail is named for a well-loved local conservation champion, Lewis S. Eaton.
Lewis Swift Eaton, 1919-1992, was a Fresno banker and community leader who believed that private prosperity and public service go hand-in-hand. During his lifetime, Mr. Eaton worked to improve the quality of life in Fresno. Of all his accomplishments, Mr. Eaton said his most worthwhile was establishing the site of Woodward Park. And in his later years, the San Joaquin River Parkway was the cause dearest to his heart.
Shortly after his death, a group of Mr. Eaton's friends gathered together through the initiative of Sam Reeves and Jim Woodward to find a fitting and appropriate way to memorialize the legacy of the man who was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. From among many worthy ideas, the group selected the naming of the planned 22-mile mainstem trail of the San Joaquin River Parkway.
The River Parkway Trust secured a matching grant for construction of the first mile of the Eaton Trail in 1992. Local citizens and friends of Mr. Eaton raised the funding to match the grant. Dedication and opening of the first mile of the trail – from the corner of Audubon and Friant Road along the perimeter of Woodward Park – took place in 1994.
Today, the Eaton Trail provides opportunities for active recreation and a healthy lifestyle in the natural setting of the San Joaquin River Parkway.
Your support helps advance projects to expand the Parkway trail network and provide more access to the San Joaquin River.