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Margaret Thorburn, Founding President

1923 - 2012

Margaret Thorburn received her Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her Master's in Nursing Education from Fresno State College where she was Professor Emerita of Nursing. Through the years Margaret was an active member of numerous community organizations including the Fresno Philharmonic Association. She was secretary of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust and past president of the Kings River Conservancy.


The Kings River Conservancy was formed in 2005 in response to specific areas of need. A clear, coordinated vision for the future was needed to protect the Lower Kings River and respond to a series of challenges and changes that include:

  • Population growth in the Central Valley in general, and Fresno and Tulare Counties around the Kings River in particular, that will bring an increased demand for regional outdoor recreation opportunities as well as the protection of riparian lands and related habitats.

  • Need for a clear strategy to balance resource management with public access for outdoor recreation and education.

  • Need to balance perspectives that while the river corridor is attractive in both its natural state and for development, the river also presents flooding hazards to life and property.

  • Assurance that the water quality in both the river and the groundwater basins adjacent to it is not degraded by nearby development and runoff from land uses that are not buffered from the waters.

  • Development of a systematic approach to the interface between public and private land uses along the river corridor as urbanization, aggregate resource mining, and other land use changes continue.

The Conservancy takes its role of stewardship seriously and continues promote programs and activities in partnership with federal, state, and local agencies, other private organizations, and property owners to:

  • Enhance awareness of the environmental values of the Lower Kings River.

  • Implement environmental education programs.

  • Develop an educational museum.

  • Identify capital improvement and management needs to enhance access and use of public properties along the lower Kings River for recreation and education.


The lower Kings River is an outstanding example of a significant riparian habitat of regional and statewide significance. It is significant in its physical scope, natural beauty, diversity of species, and extent to which the corridor has been preserved. It offers unique recreation and interpretation opportunities for all visitors. The Kings River Conservancy works to ensure that resource conservation and stewardship values guide public access management and development to assure the sustenance of a quality riparian habitat corridor both now and in the future.

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