Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
News: 03/01/2017

Calabazas Preserve OK’d to be part of county parks system



In the maybe not so distant future, the public will have access to close to 1,300 stunning acres that make up the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve in the Mayacamas above Glen Ellen.

At its Feb. 21 meeting the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved beginning the process of transferring the property from the county’s Open Space District to Sonoma County Regional Parks. The Open Space District bought the property, formerly part of the Beltane Ranch, in 2004.

At the time of the acquisition, it was expected that Calabazas would become part of the State of California Park system. But due to state financial issues, the transfer never occurred.

Since 2004, the Open Space District has been the steward of the land, monitoring the property on a regular basis with the help of volunteers. Besides the volunteers and some District-sponsored educational outings, no other public access is currently allowed.

In 2009, the District received a grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy in part to conduct a natural resources assessment, which was recently completed. As the District was getting done with this study, Sonoma County Regional Parks officials expressed interest in Calabazas for developing and managing the preserve as a new regional park.

At the Feb. 21 Board of Supervisors meeting, Kim Batchelder, a natural resource planner with the Open Space District, described the acreage as “spectacular,” and an important habitat for plants and wildlife.

The property protects over 80 percent of the Calabazas Creek watershed, which is habitat for steelhead trout, listed as federally endangered. The watershed is also a principal tributary flowing into Sonoma Creek.

The area also provides habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, also federally endangered.

Calabazas Preserve is home to over 400 plant species, and contains chapparal, oak woodlands, and redwood and Douglas fir groves.

“It has the potential to be an amazing jewel in the Sonoma County Regional Park system,” said Batchelder.

Batchelder said the land has historical importance as well, as the area represents a convergence of three local Native American tribes, the Southern Pomo, Coastal Miwok, and Southern Wappo.

Compatible recreational activities will be developed by Regional Parks, including trails and potential camping locations, but will take some time to complete after the official property transfer.

Current access to the preserve is from Nuns Canyon Road, which currently is not in great shape.

“The conditions are appalling and getting worse,” said Supervisor Susan Gorin. “It’s not ready for public transportation at the moment.”

The head of Regional Parks, Caryl Hart, said opening up Calabazas to the public presents some challenges.

“It’s unclear to me where people are going to park,” said Hart. “There’s no clear answer as to how public access is going to work.”

Hart said the transfer of the property should take place in county fiscal year 2017-18.


Editor & Publisher
Email: alec@kenwoodpress.com

Recently Published:

02/15/2019 - Thirty years of rescuing fawns
02/15/2019 - Third mountain lion in study killed in Napa
02/15/2019 - Municipal Advisory Council moves forward in Kenwood, Glen Ellen
02/15/2019 - Oakmont board election
02/15/2019 - Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program info
02/15/2019 - Input sought on restoration for steelhead habitat in upper Sonoma Creek
02/15/2019 - Frozen February...
02/15/2019 - Emergency response, CPR training in Glen Ellen
02/15/2019 - Docent training at Quarryhill
02/15/2019 - Jack London Yacht Club launches
02/01/2019 - Former OVA president files lawsuit
02/01/2019 - ‘The Uncommon Manzanita’
02/01/2019 - Speed limit changes – good news and bad news
02/01/2019 - Supervisors OK hosted rentals, farmstays on more ag lands
02/01/2019 - Fire plan proposal roasted by three supes
02/01/2019 - SVCAC gives OK to B.R. Cohn concert expansion
02/01/2019 - Plenty of firepower in district’s new board picks
01/15/2019 - Mobile Support Team expands services to Sonoma Valley
01/15/2019 - Sugarloaf Ridge, Jack London parks are flourishing
01/15/2019 - Fire volunteers are needed and welcome
01/15/2019 - SVCAC to review B.R. Cohn event request
01/15/2019 - Protecting your pets and backyard livestock from predators
01/15/2019 - Register for kindergarten now
01/15/2019 - Further information on Kenwood cyclist/pedestrian incident
01/15/2019 - County seeks public input on housing development sites

Community Calendar

Wildfire Recovery and Rebirth
02/23/2019
more...
“People of the Abyss, then and now”
02/23/2019
more...
Fire recovery hike at SV Regional Park
02/23/2019
more...
Challenge yourself at local ropes course
02/24/2019
more...
Oakmont Sunday Symposium
02/24/2019
more...
SIR Branch #53 expanding activities
02/28/2019
more...
Wildlife Fawn Rescue 30th anniversary celebration
03/02/2019
more...
The inspiring Victoria Arlen at next Sonoma Speaker event
03/04/2019
more...
Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood meeting
03/06/2019
more...
Docent training begins at Quarryhill
03/06/2019
more...
Big Heart Award tickets on sale
03/08/2019
more...


Weather Underground PWS KCAKENWO2