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:

07/01/2019 - Cal Fire suspends burn permits in Sonoma County
07/01/2019 - Oakmont board will bid on golf facilities
07/01/2019 - Workshop refines vision for SDC future
07/01/2019 - Cyclist hurt in Glen Ellen
07/01/2019 - Keep your eyes open – it’s tick season
07/01/2019 - County reminds residents of fireworks ban
07/01/2019 - Hiking duo honored as parade grand marshals
07/01/2019 - Update your contact info with PG&E
07/01/2019 - Rebuilding by the numbers
07/01/2019 - Eldridge P.O. temporarily relocated to Glen Ellen
07/01/2019 - A big MAC for New Year’s
07/01/2019 - Cannabis dispensary proposed for Kenwood
07/01/2019 - Three open positions at Kenwood School
06/15/2019 - PG&E installs new fire cameras in Sonoma Valley
06/15/2019 - Impact100 Sonoma awards $324,00 in grants
06/15/2019 - Glen Ellen Forum hears about housing, applauds funding
06/15/2019 - Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District customers will see rates increase next year
06/15/2019 - Kenwood parks, county properties to see end of pesticide use
06/15/2019 - Free curbside debris chipping available
06/15/2019 - Scot Medbury named new director of Quarryhill in Glen Ellen
06/15/2019 - Is the red flag flying?
06/15/2019 - Ecology Center named nonprofit of the year
06/15/2019 - Dunbar volunteer tutors sharpen kids’ reading skills
06/15/2019 - Learn more about the MAC citizens group
06/15/2019 - Volunteers beautify Glen Ellen

Community Calendar

Oakmont Farmers Market
07/20/2019
more...
Walk ‘n Wag
07/20/2019
more...
‘Forest bathing’ hike
07/20/2019
more...
“Fantastical Family Night” at Jack London
07/20/2019
more...
Kenwood Community Church service
07/21/2019
more...
Butterflies and dragonflies hike
07/21/2019
more...
Al Anon meeting
07/24/2019
more...
Bingo at Rincon Valley Grange
07/24/2019
more...
Volunteer training begins at Quarryhill Botanical Garden
07/24/2019
more...
Funky Fridays concerts at Hood Mansion
07/26/2019
more...
Oakmont Farmers Market
07/27/2019
more...


Weather Underground PWS KCAKENWO2