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Picnic area in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake park to be demolished months after tree limb mishap

in News

Ground squirrels scurried around the Oak Knolls Picnic Area in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Regional Park on Sunday morning as an excavator got to work removing chunks of concrete.

The park’s Upper Shady Oaks Picnic Area will no longer be a gathering spot for those looking to enjoy a meal outside amid the numerous trees that are there, said Meda Freeman, spokesperson for Sonoma County Regional Parks.

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Sonoma County Open Space District in contract to buy Bodega Bay ranch for future park

in Community

Trails that for decades have taken equestrians into the rugged hills above Salmon Creek with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, could soon be open to the public under a plan by Sonoma County officials to acquire the well-known Chanslor Ranch.

The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District is in contract with owner Jonathan Wang to purchase the 378-acre ranch, which is bounded on the north and northwest by Salmon Creek and sits across Highway 1 from Sonoma Coast State Park.

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Santa Rosa’s Southeast Greenway plans inch along as supporters wait for state approvals

in Community

Standing in a footpath carved through shin-high grass, Thea Hensel looked across an expansive property that separates Hoen and Mayette avenues in east Santa Rosa and imagined it transformed into a lively recreation area.

That long-held vision calls for community gardens where nearby residents can grow their own produce; a natural open space with a restored walnut grove; a walking and biking path that connects to the adjacent neighborhoods.

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Acquisition expands Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve

in Environment

Sonoma County Regional Parks has acquired 120 acres on the western flank of Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve above the Sonoma Valley, a strategic expansion that will preserve scenic views and wildlife habitat, offer new recreation opportunities, and support future wildfire defense.

Known as Cougar Landing, the property is surrounded on three sides by the 2,000-acre park and is in clear view of the park’s recently opened Lawson Trail terminus. The recent owner agreed to a $1.02 million sale after the Glass Fire swept over the Mayacamas Mountains in 2020.

“We’re pleased to support projects with tangible health and safety benefits, such as improving watershed health, biological diversity, and climate resiliency,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors James Gore. “Strategically placed and managed parks and open spaces have become critical to our communitys resiliency as we adapt to a changing climate.”

Continue Reading on Sonoma County Gazette

Napa Valley’s Living Landscapes: Bothe is back

in People

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park has reopened the day-use areas and the majority of the trails in March. According to Napa County Regional Park & Open Space District, part of South Fork Trail remains closed for safety and to prevent resource damage. Campgrounds, cabins, and yurts are open for reservations.

An early spring walk along Bothe-Napa Valley State Park’s Redwood Trail and Ritchey Canyon trails display much evidence that it is thriving well after the Glass Fire of 2020. That being said, however, the park’s mixed redwood forest, oak woodland habitats, grasslands, coniferous forest, and riparian sectors all suffered from the intensity of the fire.

According to Cyndy Shafer, natural resource program manager for the California State Parks Bay Area District, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park suffered approximately 1,775 burned acres or about 90% of the park.

Experts are currently studying the full impacts of the fires, but early evidence of the burns now being monitored has shown a variety of flora and fauna returning to the parks.
Continue Reading on Napa Valley Register

Public help sought to kickstart recovery at fire-scarred Hood Mountain Regional Park

in Wildfire Recovery
As the meadows of Hood Mountain Regional Park, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, begin to green up, right, the steep hillsides of the southern Mayacamas Range of the park interior and bordering private land, bare sage reminders of the Glass fire's torturous September 2020 run from Napa to Sonoma County. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2021

The Glass fire was merciless as it blazed across the Mayacamas Mountains and through Hood Mountain Regional Park last fall, charring 80% of the 2,000-acre park and open space preserve and closing it to the public indefinitely.

Though much of the fire-adapted landscape eventually will recover, the Sept. 27 wildfire burned at high enough intensity to cause significant damage to nature and man-made infrastructure now in need of replacement at the county park on the eastern flank of Sonoma Valley.

The Sonoma County Regional Parks foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to help, seeded with a $10,000 challenge grant from nearby Kenwood Vineyards, a longtime wine sponsor for the foundation’s Funky Friday summertime concert series in the park.

“They specifically wanted to do something for Hood Mountain because a lot of their staff live in the area,” said Melissa Kelley, executive director of the foundation. “These are folks that are looking at this burned mountainside day after day. They have that ever-present reminder.”

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Envisioning an Inn on Santa Rosa Island

in Travel

As the second largest chunk of Channel Islands National Park, and yet with a fraction of the visitors to Santa Cruz or Anacapa islands, Santa Rosa Island is a wonderland for lovers of nature and solitude. But visitors tend to be of the hardier sort, forced to endure a multi-hour ferry ride across often rough waters, trudge a couple of miles to the existing campground, survive in mostly backcountry conditions during their stay, and then hike for many more miles to see the island’s primary sights.

The National Park Service would like to make that experience easier for a wider portion of the population while also preserving the island’s historic ranch complex in Becher’s Bay, once home to the legendary Vail & Vickers cattle operation. Based on the directives approved in a 2015 management plan, they are now seeking suggestions from the private sector for a financially feasible plan to develop lodging, food and beverage, trailhead transportation, and camper support services, such as a small store. Hoping to launch these updated options in 2024, the park is soliciting such ideas until February 2021.

Continue Reading on Independent

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