Plans discussed for new Sonoma Valley Regional Park lands
About 25 people attended a Sonoma County Regional Parks meeting on Oct. 28 to put in their two cents about potential uses for two properties that are now part of Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen.
The properties are adjacent to the Sonoma Highway access for Sonoma Valley Regional Park.
On one side is what’s known as the 29-acre Curreri property, and the other is the 41-acre SDC41 property. Regional Parks officials are in the process of creating a master plan that will create trails and other recreational activities on the new additions, and figure out how they would integrate with the rest of Sonoma Valley Regional Park.
“We want your input,” said First District Supervisor Susan Gorin as she kicked off the meeting in front of the small crowd at the Kenwood Fire House, many of whom were neighbors of the Glen Ellen park.
The SDC41 piece was once part of the state-run Sonoma Developmental Center, but declared surplus property in the 1990s. Open Space bought the property for $600,000 in 2007. The land was then transferred to Regional Parks. The 41 acres consists of oak woodlands and grasslands, some wetland areas, and also provides some panoramic views of the valley.
The Curreri property was bought by the Sonoma Land Trust for $1.1 million in 2014, and then immediately moved to Regional Parks. The area has similar landscape characteristics as SDC41, and also includes a pond, which helps provide a habitat for such species as the Pacific pond turtle, California red legged frog, grasshopper sparrow, and Great Blue heron.
Another aspect of the new lands is increased protection for an officially designated Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor, which provides a crucial linkage for wildlife movement between Sonoma Mountain and the Mayacamas range.
Discussed among the group at the Oct. 28 meeting were potential uses of the new properties, such as the possible locations of trails for hiking, biking, and horses, and educational activities that might include an educational center.
Participants emphasized the need to protect the wildlife corridor and the pond, the need for reforestation in some areas, the removal of barbed wire fencing and invasive weed species on the Curreri land, and a general focus on native land management practice.
All were interested in the potential of Regional Parks acquiring further SDC property that is next to Sonoma Valley Regional Park, especially an area that contains Suttonfield Lake.
Regional Parks staff will take the input from the public and use it as they develop a master plan. Environmental and other studies need to be done, and future public meetings held. It is hoped that approval of the master plan would go in front of the Board of Supervisors in the fall of 2016, with trail construction beginning in the Spring of 2017.
Regional Parks is also preparing a master plan for a 247-acre addition to Hood Mountain Regional Park, known as the Lawson Addition. The Open Space District purchased the property in 2005 for $1,160,000, and then transferred title to Regional Parks in 2014.
A public workshop on the Lawson Addition master plan will take place Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6 to 8 p.m., also at the Kenwood Fire House.
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