A goodly portion of Elk Grove, California can best be described as suburban sprawl at its worst. I've lived here since 1989, and fought the good fight for planned, logical development in the early 1990s as a member of the Franklin-Laguna Area Community Planning Advisory Council. I spent a lot of evenings in those days in vain efforts testifying before the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and the County Planning Commission - suffice to say we ended up on the short end of a lot of votes on proposals for yet more housing at the expense of just about everything else.
Elk Grove voted to incorporate in 2000, and while one would have thought things were going to get better on the planning front, in fact they got worse. To call the originally elected City Council a disaster would be the understatement of the 21st Century; they were (and are - three of them still sit on the Council, though I hope that changes for at least two of them in November) well-meaning people who failed miserably in their efforts (and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt in assuming that they tried) to control growth in Elk Grove. And now it is too late; the die is cast and the city is left with playing the hand that it dealt itself. And it's not a good one.
Which is not to say that there are not nice areas in Elk Grove. There are; and by and large it remains a nice place to live. And even within the confines of suburbia, it is possible to find and enjoy a little slice of open space and wilderness. The best example of that may be the Laguna Creek Trail, which son #2 and I biked this morning.
The first shot above is of Laguna Creek, near the eastern-most portion of the trail.
The second shot shows where the trail goes under the train trestle; our timing was good today and we just happened to go beneath the trestle when the 12:00 Noon Amtrak went whizzing by.
The third picture is where the Creek reaches its end, into a pond which serves as home to ducks, geese, egrets, rabbits, turtles, and a host of other wildlife.
And finally, we conclude with another shot of the railroad trestle, from the opposite side.
And it is all within the city boundaries.