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Environment

From Trash To Skate Park: Inside Fresno’s “Historic” Landfill

FresnoParkLandfill2.jpg
Kerry Klein
/
Valley Public Radio
Parkgoers enjoy a picnic lunch at Fresno Regional Sports Complex in Southwest Fresno. The 110-acre green space is a remediated landfill that stopped operating in the 1980s and was designated a Superfund site due to environmental contamination.

National Historic Landmarks are typically associated with our country’s history—sites like the infamous island Alcatraz or Manzanar, one of the camps where Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II.

FresnoParkLandfill1.jpg
Credit Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio
/
Valley Public Radio
The mound from a long-defunct landfill still rises behind the complex's baseball diamonds and skate park.

But in Southwest Fresno, one landmark owes its historic status to trash. It’s a landfill—at least, it used to be. In this interview, we speak to an environmental historian about the gritty past of what is now a city park. Listen to the audio for more on where it is, what it looks like now, and why the former Fresno Sanitary Landfill was innovative enough to be named a National Historic Landmark.

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