Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
News: 05/01/2020

Sonoma Valley Trail project receives tourist funds

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors set aside $30,000 for the county Regional Parks Department to use for developing the long planned Sonoma Valley Trail project at their regular – though virtual – Tuesday meeting on April 28. The money was part of $90,000 Tourism Impact Fund dollars recently made available to First District Supervisor Susan Gorin for tourist-related projects in her district.

As envisioned in a 2016 feasibility study, a 13-mile paved trail was picked as the preferred trail alignment to connect the City of Sonoma with Santa Rosa in steps, as funding becomes available.

The Tourism Impact Fund is the second source of revenue designed to mitigate tourism impacts. Along with the Transient Occupancy Tax of 12 percent per night on overnight stays, the Tourism Impact Fund comes from a two percent tax on large hotel revenues, over $375,000 a year.

It was established to address needs of areas within unincorporated Sonoma County that are most impacted by tourism. County supervisors allocate these funds twice a year for safety improvements (e.g. lighted and/or marked cross walks, traffic calming devices), environmental impact mitigation (e.g. removing trash from beaches, waterways, and areas with high tourist traffic), public safety (e.g. fire services), and other tourism impact mitigation activities, such as parking enforcement in heavily trafficked areas.

Funds may be used to support organizations that coordinate community improvements, such as Municipal Advisory Councils. Unused funds in a single fiscal year will be accounted for and available in following years.

A separate presentation to the Board of expected tourist tax revenues over the 2020-2021 fiscal year forecasts a 33 percent drop in both revenue sources, with conditions remaining highly uncertain due to the COVID-19 quarantine and the coming fire season, already being exacerbated by low rainfall and unseasonable high temperatures.

The county has pulled back national tourism advertising campaigns and will instead reach out to Bay Area prospects for overnight visits over the coming year.

The trail today

Regional Parks planner Ken Tam is shepherding the trail through what promises to be a long trek.

“The first stage of right of way acquisition can be the most delicate, as each individual property owner needs to support the project.” Tam responded to questions in an email. “Addressing the owners’ concerns such as privacy and trespass can take years. Also, we need willing landowners to sell an easement or a strip of land to the county for trail development. Sections of the trail can be located within publicly owned land, utility easements, and road right of way, but there are other trail sections that will require property acquisition. Preliminary design and right of way engineering work will help us to determine the minimum amount of land needed from each property owner.”

For now, the money will be used for preliminary design and right of way engineering for the preliminary job developing the trail between Lawndale Road and Santa Rosa.

“As of today,” Tam said, “The county has secured three irrevocable offers to dedicate easements for trail purposes, one irrevocable offer to dedicate is in progress (as it relates to a use permit application), and is in early discussions with two different property owners for irrevocable offers to dedicate [easements].”

Regional Parks is also working with Caltrans to incorporate trail improvements when possible, as part of any Hwy. 12 improvement work.

Visit the trail website,


Recently Published:

09/15/2020 - This year, voting is a little different
09/15/2020 - I can't see clearly now …
09/15/2020 - Help new library at SDC
09/15/2020 - Enjoy the big, beautiful outdoors at Sugarloaf
09/15/2020 - North Valley MAC starts Sept. 16
09/15/2020 - Postal Service rules sideline some local Census survey deliveries
09/15/2020 - Time for CASA volunteer training
09/15/2020 - Fighting wildfires before they start
09/15/2020 - SDC community outreach meeting set for Sept. 30
09/15/2020 - 911 -- Call if you can; text if you can’t
09/15/2020 - Incumbent Kenwood fire district directors unopposed
09/15/2020 - What’s on the ballot this year?
09/15/2020 - Learning continues at Dunbar – just from a distance
09/15/2020 - Finding History – A personal journey of discovery at the SDC
09/15/2020 - District 1 residents can apply for commission spots
09/01/2020 - Sign up for October CASA training
09/01/2020 - Time is now for input on county PG&E settlement funds
09/01/2020 - Feeding people in need...
09/01/2020 - Mystery driver takes out bulletin board in Glen Ellen
09/01/2020 - New Oakmont escape route avoids Highway 12
09/01/2020 - Meet your new North Valley MAC
09/01/2020 - Sugarloaf Ridge State Park events
09/01/2020 - School board slots uncontested
09/01/2020 - Fawn Rescue’s virtual FAWNdraiser
09/01/2020 - VJB use permit hearing postponed

Community Calendar

Toxic Waste drop-off
VOMWD hazard mitigation virtual meeting
Sugarloaf Trail Crew
SDC community outreach
Charmian Kittredge London biography book release
GE Fair Quilt drawing