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Comment period extended on park plans

A period to comment on potential uses at North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park (NSMRP) has been extended until Nov. 18.

At issue is a 2017 plan for public park access that offers three alternate scenarios for park use near the Sonoma Mountain entrance. These alternatives were created before the 2017 wildfires, and nothing has been done about the project since then because of ongoing crises severely impacting the county.

North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, which opened in 2015, is an 820-acre park southeast of Santa Rosa. The park includes a 4-mile section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which connects to Jack London State Historic Park for throughhiking opportunities.

The alternative use plans in question were put together following a community workshop in June of 2017. Over 60 stakeholders attended, including residents, public agency personnel, and user group representatives. The sentiments expressed at that meeting supported camping opportunities, but no campfires, according to the regional parks summary. That summary clearly indicated that individual campfires would not be allowed, but that ranger-led group campfires would be OK, along with monitored BBQs.

A group of Sonoma Mountain residents and others have raised the alarm about the possibility of Sonoma County Regional Parks allowing overnight camping and campfires, citing increased wildfire risk. Many encourage Regional Parks to keep NSMRP as a dayuse park only.

The time to comment on the alternative uses was due to expire on Oct. 30, but has been extended to Nov. 18. All comments received will be considered as Regional Parks works out a single plan and submits that for a California Environmental Quality Act review.

Once that review is finished, a draft Final Master Plan for the park will be opened for further public discussion and comment, most likely in early 2021, and then go before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors sometime next spring. Please address comments on the current alternatives to Karen. [email protected]

The alternative plans may be seen at sonomacounty.ca.gov/Parks/Planning/ North-Sonoma-Mountain/.

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