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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sonoma Mountain gets a Trail

North Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail Project Kicks-Off
District acquisitions totaling $12 million to connect to Jack London State Historic Park

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, acting as the District’s Board of Directors, approved five contracts totaling $391,360 to prepare for the construction of the North Slope Ridge trail on Sonoma Mountain, and to assist the District with other trail development projects at the Montini and Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserves.

“Sonoma Mountain now joins the ring of Bay Area summits that provide public access,” said Valerie Brown, First District Supervisor. “State, County and District-protected properties will be linked together by a multi-use trail that allows the community to enjoy 5,500 acres of contiguous open space.”

The agreements include services from Sonoma County Regional Parks Department for construction management of park improvements, the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council (BARTC) for trail planning and construction oversight, and the Conservation Corps North Bay for trail construction and stewardship tasks such as invasive plant control and fire abatement. Additional contracted services include engineering, surveying, and permitting work that must occur prior to construction. Construction is expected to begin early this summer and be substantially completed by late fall.

“This project will help provide local youth with meaningful work and new perspectives,” said Gary Miltimore, Sonoma County Program Director of the Conservation Corps North Bay. “They will be working alongside people that are passionate about providing safe, yet exhilarating, public access to Sonoma County’s richest natural resources.”

The proposed multi-use trail will traverse four District-protected properties, totaling approximately 454 acres and a public investment of more than $12 million, the 84-acre Sonoma Mountain Woodlands parcel owned by Regional Parks, and the approximately 1,400-acre Jack London State Historic Park. The $1.4 million construction project encompasses access road improvements, a parking area, and a 4.25-mile trail that will total approximately nine miles of trail from the proposed trailhead at Jacobs Ranch on Sonoma Mountain to the Hayfields trailhead at Jack London State Historic Park and add to the larger Bay Area Ridge Trail.

“The North Slope Sonoma Mountain Ridge Trail will be a treasured link in the visionary 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail,” said Janet McBride, BARTC Executive Director. “We are thrilled that trail construction is poised to begin—this is the happy result of many years of passionate, persistent efforts among many partners.”

The California Coastal Conservancy has supported the preservation of, and access to, Sonoma Mountain by providing a total of $2,385,000 in grant funding for planning, land acquisition, and public access improvements. The Coastal Conservancy was able to release $341,666 of a $575,000 grant frozen by the State to begin the construction.

“There is no better place to experience the spectacular beauty of Sonoma County than its namesake mountain,” said Maxene Spellman, project manager for the State Coastal Conservancy. “The new trail will lead hikers into the quiet intimacy of nature and offer majestic views that take in much of the North Bay’s awe-inspiring landscape.”

“This project once again demonstrates the significance of partnerships in our land conservation efforts,” said Bill Keene, General Manager of the District. “Our combined teamwork in funding, planning, and implementing this project will provide needed jobs, public access, and protection of diverse wildlife habitats and sensitive natural resources.”

About the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Since 1990, the District has protected more than 83,000 acres. Agricultural and open space lands have been protected through a 1/4-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit

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