Public input sought for North Sonoma Mountain Master Plan
Sonoma County Regional Parks is beginning the development of a Master Plan for the North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, which was officially opened to the public in 2015. Regional Park staff will host a meeting on Friday, April 27, 6-8 p.m. at the Bennett Valley Guild Hall, 4145 Grange Road in Santa Rosa.
The park encompasses 820 acres on Sonoma Mountain, southeast of Santa Rosa and northwest of Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, which also shares its eastern boundary. North Sonoma Mountain Park is comprised of six properties, commonly called Jacobs Ranch, Cooper’s Grove, Sonoma Mountain Woodland, Wilroth, Skiles, and Walsh. The Walsh property is not currently open to the public. The park includes a 4-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail connecting to Jack London State Historic Park and a wheelchair-accessible trail to an overlook. All trails are open to hikers, cyclists (bikes are limited to the first two miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail), and equestrians. The park’s current parking and staging area is accessed off Sonoma Mountain Road.
Development of the Master Plan will consider how existing amenities or structures in the Park and Preserve are used, whether new features (i.e. additional trails, campsites, cabins, or various types of public uses, such as the re-opening of the stables for day use) are developed, and how natural and cultural resources are managed, to ensure long-term protection consistent with compatible uses. Four separate building envelopes and five environmental camping envelopes were previously established for potential use on Jacobs Ranch and Walsh properties.
All lands outside of the designated development envelopes are designated as “Forever Wild Areas” and are not being considered for further development, except for the possible addition of trails to enhance public use while protecting natural and/or cultural resources. Of particular interest to Regional Parks staff is the potential design of a trail to the peak of Sonoma Mountain on the Walsh Property that provides access to identified camping envelopes and connects to the existing ridge trail.
Those interested in being part of the conversation should attend this first planning workshop. Parks staff are particularly interested in obtaining comments on, and suggestions for allowable uses within the identified development envelopes, as well as locations for future trails. Background information and baseline documents can be downloaded and reviewed at parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/About_Us/Planning_Updates.aspx
Staff will be concurrently preparing an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act process to facilitate the eventual adoption and implementation of the Master Plan.