open space

Remote Old-Growth Forest Gains Protection

May 2, 2017
Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District

A forest of massive coast redwoods and the diverse wildlife they shelter are getting new and permanent protection, funded by distant urban residents who will never see the lands. 

Bordering the Mendocino County line, the Howlett Ranch contains the free-flowing headwaters to a pair of key tributaries to the Gualala River, and still sees spawning runs of coho, steelhead and rainbow trout. And, Bill Keene notes, it connects other large swaths of protected forests.

Preserving and Sharing Rancho Mark West

Dec 5, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

For 50 years, Jim Doerkson has managed and maintained a small mountainside covered in fir and redwood, and narrow footpaths. His Rancho Mark West is becoming an increasingly popular place for nature education and family outings.

Greenway Vision Coming Into Focus

Oct 17, 2016

Eight years into the process of creating the proposed southeast Greenway in Santa Rosa, ideas for what it will actually look like are taking shape. An online survey, reviewing three possible alternatives, is underway.

Follow this link to take the Greenway planning survey. Sign up for the Oct. 26 walking tour of the property here.

Rolling Out an Accessible ‘Hike’

May 17, 2016
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District

  A quartet of Sonoma County agencies teamed up last weekend to organize and support a first-ever group outdoor outing for non-ambulatory Nature lovers. KRCB News Director Bruce Robinson tagged along.

Discovering the New Laguna Discovery Trail

Apr 21, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Just in time for Earth Day, a new public trail near Rohnert Park shows visitors how ecological restoration unfolds over time, as pasture and grasslands are gradually converted back to a stretch of riparian forest.

It may not be apparent to casual visitors, says Laguna Foundation Executive Director Munroe, but the replantings and other ecological restoration efforts along the new Discovery Trail represent hundreds of hours of work, in a project that will remain ongoing for several more years.

Incubator Farm Revisions Offered to Mollify Neighbors

Apr 20, 2016
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District

  A proposed hands-on "incubator farm” for young would-be farmers next to Rohnert Park has generated protests from nearby residents. So the project is being revised to ease their concerns.

The 45-acre Young-Armos property was purchased by the county’s Ag and Open Space District for $370,000 in 1997. Rohnert Park Mayor Gina Belforte is sympathetic to the Rohnert Park residents who would strongly prefer that nothing be changed on it.

SE Greenway Advocates Report Progress

Feb 17, 2016
SE Greenway Campaign


  Advocates for the creation of the Southeast Greenway, in the vacant strip of land running from Spring Lake Park to Farmer’s Lane in Santa Rosa, have been working on it for seven years now. But the most important steps in that conversion may come in the year ahead.

That meeting will be held Saturday morning, 10 to noon in the Montgomery High School cafeteria.  Find more details here.

Sonoma County Bird Census Nears Completion

Dec 24, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

 The National Audubon Society’s 116th annual Christmas Bird count is now underway. And so is their every five-year  census of the bird species that live and breed in Sonoma County.  The leaders of that effort explain how it works in this archival North Bay Report from last March. Their most recent effort is now in its final stages.

The birds’ behavior offers clues as to whether they are nesting nearby or not, says Madrone Audubon Society President Gordon Beebe.

Busy Times for Sonoma Land Trust

Dec 21, 2015
The California Coastal Records Project

  With three major projects wrapping up in 2015, the Sonoma Land Trust is looking ahead to more in the New Year, including a celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary.

The video below describes and explains the Sears Point wetlands conversion project in greater detail.

Sonoma County PRMD

A collection of seven Community Separators, approved by voters 20 years ago, will be back on the ballot for renewal next fall, possibly with some additional areas to be protected.

Revisiting Community Separators

Oct 26, 2015
Greenbelt Alliance

As the local economy rebounds, and the demand for additional housing in Sonoma County accelerates, a call for renewing protections on open lands between local cities is stirring debate.

Localized maps of the various existing community separators in Sonoma County can be seen on the Greenbelt Alliance website.

Landpaths Introduces ‘TrekSonoma’ Outings

Jun 25, 2015

  Landpaths is one of several local groups that is active in preserving and protecting scenic and unspoiled properties across Sonoma County. But they are also committed to getting people out on those lands, and will introduce a new series of extended outings later this summer.

Hiking across the countryside as part of a small group, says Landpaths Executive Director Craig Anderson, becomes a collective experience, which is quite different from traveling alone or with just one or two other people. 

Envisioning a Future for Sonoma's Developmental Center

Apr 29, 2015
Sonoma Land Trust

For more than a century, the state Developmental Center has been a large and complex presence in the Sonoma Valley. But what will become of it in the future is a wide open question.

  It’s become clear to everyone involved that the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center will be quite different from its past or present. So how will that new path be determined?  John McCaull, a land acquisitions manager for the Sonoma Land Trust, explains the process being initiated this weekend to explore answers.

New Sonoma Mountain Park Dedicated

Mar 23, 2015
Sonoma County Regional Parks

  More than 10 years in the making, the newest Regional Park in Sonoma County offer bucolic vistas and a comfortably serpentine trail that belies the behind-the-scenes work required to create it. The park was officially dedicated Monday afternoon.

   Creating a large new public park is always a complex process, says Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart. But this one was more challenging than most.


Inspired Forward by LandPaths

Feb 24, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

 As the hawk soars, it’s only 13 miles from the west county’s unspoiled Bohemia Ranch to urban Roseland. But for middle school students in an outdoor youth leadership program, it can be a memorable journey. KRCB’s Bruce Robinson tagged along on one such outing last week.

Unusual Perspectives on Mount Tamalpias

Oct 29, 2014
Gary Yost

  Mount Tamalpias may be the most visible feature of the North Bay landscape, but we mostly see it from a distance. Tomorrow night, KRCB television will show a pair of short documentary films that take a closer look at the mountain and its vistas. They are titled The Invisible Peak and Full Moon Pacific Blanket, both created by Mill Valley filmmaker Gary Yost.

The Invisible Peak and Full Moon Pacific Blanket will be shown together on Channel 22 Thursday night. Oct. 30, beginning  at 10:30 pm. 

Open Space Funding for Roseland Projects

Aug 30, 2014
Mark Prell, KRCB

  Two key civic projects in Santa Rosa’s Roseland area have additional momentum behind them, with significant new funds from the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District. The matching grants will support a community plaza and the Andy Lopez memorial park.

The Sonoma Land Trust's Unspoiled Legacy

Jul 11, 2014
Sonoma Land Trust

Over the past 38 years, one local non-profit has helped preserve nearly 48,000 acres of open space in the North Bay. And the Sonoma Land Trust is continuing to add to that legacy.

  Sonoma Land Trust Executive Director Ralph Benson gets to spend a lot of time enjoying the properties his agency owns or  works with. He's reluctant to name his favorites, but admits there are a few spots he often visits.

A High Point on the Sonoma Coast

Jun 11, 2014
Sonoma Land Trust

  Another jewel has been added to the string of dazzling public lands along and overlooking the Sonoma Coast, one that will offer some of the most striking views available in the region as it is opened to hikers in the months ahead. Here’s what we can look forward to.

The map below shows how this new acquisition links other publicly-held lands in the coastal area just north of Jenner.

Anderson Honored as ‘Conservation Hero’

Feb 13, 2014

Craig Anderson, Executive Director of the outdoor conservation non-profit, Landpaths, has been named Bay Nature’s “Conservation Hero” for this year. It’s an award that his colleagues are roundly applauding.

SE Greenway Campaign Advances--Slowly

Jan 22, 2014
Southeast Greenway campaign

  A key decision on the fate and future of the abandoned highway corridor in southeast Santa Rosa is getting closer, and proponents of converting the property into a public “greenway” are poised to take advantage if and when that opportunity becomes real.

A public event—“Moving the Southeast Greenway Forward” is coming up at the Glaser Center on Saturday, Feb. 8. You can find details about it here.

Inside Taylor Mountain Regional Park

Nov 27, 2013
Sonoma County Regional Parks

  If you’re looking for a way to walk off a big dinner or avoid the crowds who are out shopping on Black Friday, consider a visit to the newest Sonoma County Regional Park.

Enlarge the map below to see the hiking trails already in place at the new Regional Park.

Mandatory Agricultral Use Easements

Aug 21, 2013

Protecting farm and ranch lands from residential or commercial development is one thing. Ensuring that they remain in active agricultural production is taking things a big step further. It’s a step now underway in Marin County.

  As part of their Mandatory Agricultural Use requirements, explains MALT Executive Director Jamison Watts,  the property owners must develop a carefully thought-out plan to live up to that obligation.

Forestville Moves to Preseve Downtown Open Space

May 29, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  As the clock winds down on a matching grant to preserve a key piece of open space in the heart of Forestville, the small west county town is confident that the one-time subdivision site will instead be protected as a natural park.

The extension of the bicycle trail will follow the west and north sides of the open space land, as shown in red on the map below.

Updating Bodega Bay's Marinas

Jan 30, 2013
KRCB photo

While looking for short-term ways to cover the costs of operating its marinas at Bodega Bay, Sonoma County is also beginning to imagine a transformative future for those facilities.