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Fresno is at 36°44′52″N 119°46′21″W. having a total area of 112.3 square miles (291 km2) with 99.69% land covering 112.0 square miles (290 km2), and 0.31% water, 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2).
Fresno’s location, very near the geographical center of California, places the city a comfortable distance from many of the major recreation areas and urban centers in the state. Just 60 mi (97 km) south of Yosemite National Park, it is the nearest major city to the park. Likewise, Sierra National Forest is 40 mi (64 km), Kings Canyon National Park is 60 mi (97 km) and Sequoia National Park is 75 mi (121 km). The city is located near several Sierra Nevada lakes including Bass Lake, Shaver Lake, and Huntington Lake. Fresno is also only two and a half hours from Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and the central coast.
Because Fresno sits at the junction of Highways 41 and 99 (SR 41 is Yosemite National Park’s southern access road, and SR 99 bypasses Interstate 5 to serve the urban centers of the San Joaquin Valley), the city is a major gateway for Yosemite visitors coming from Los Angeles. The city also serves as an entrance into Sierra National Forest via Highway 168, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks via Highway 180.
Fresno has three large public parks, two in the city limits and one in county land to the southwest. Woodward Park, which features the Shinzen Japanese Gardens, boasts numerous picnic areas and several miles of trails. It is in North Fresno and is adjacent to the San Joaquin River Parkway. Roeding Park, near Downtown Fresno, is home to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and Rotary Storyland and Playland. Kearney Park is the largest of the Fresno region’s park system and is home to historic Kearney Mansion and plays host to the annual Civil War Revisited, the largest reenactment of the Civil War in the west coast of the U.S.
In its 2020 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that Fresno had one of the worst park systems among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. The survey measures median park size, park acres as percent of city area, residents’ access to parks, spending on parks per resident, and playgrounds per 10,000 residents. Fresno faces serious challenges to creating a well-developed park system due to the lack of any natural bodies of water in the city boundaries. There are no natural lakes or rivers; only manmade waterways.