Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail Opens to Public
November 16, 2012
A 2.4-mile trail in the Laguna de Santa
Rosa opened to the public November 16, 2012, giving hikers, cyclists and
equestrians a new route through the unique landscape of Sonoma County's largest
de Santa Rosa Trail is the first phase of a larger trail network planned
for the Laguna and the culmination of more than 10 years of work by the Sonoma
County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma County
Regional Parks, the cities of Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, the Laguna de Santa
Rosa Foundation and other agencies and organizations.
The trail runs
between Highway 12 and Occidental Road on the east side of the Laguna's main
channel. A fully accessible 1.8-mile segment paved with crushed stone follows
Sebastopol's Laguna Wetlands Preserve and Santa Rosa's Kelly Farm, with an
unpaved .6-mile pedestrian-only loop toward the Laguna's riparian cover. The
trail features an overlook with bench seating.
Trail heads and parking
areas are located off of both Highway 12 and Occidental Road. Both lots have
bike racks, and the larger lot off Highway 12 includes horse trailer parking.
"This is a wonderful place for people to see and experience. There are
not many locations where people have an amazing natural resource like this
right in their own backyard," said Supervisor Efren Carrillo, whose 5th
District includes the trail site. "This trail is a testament to the power of
collaborative planning and strong partnerships."
planning, permitting and construction totaled approximately $1.7 million and
was funded by the District's voter-approved sales tax and a $500,000 grant
from the California State Coastal Conservancy. Construction began in
September 2010 and was completed this month.
"The trail we're opening
is the result of more than a decade of work," said District General Manager
Bill Keene. "Multiple agencies committed to providing greater access to the
Laguna, and today we celebrate a major success in helping people experience
this special landscape."
Regional Parks owns the trail easement and
parking lots and will operate and maintain the trail. There is no charge for
parking, and dogs on leash are allowed on the trail.
is thrilled to open the Laguna trail, and we want to thank the Open Space
District, the cities, the Coastal Conservancy and the many other partners
who made this possible," said Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart. "The
Laguna is a unique natural wonder. We know the community will make great use
of this trail."
The Laguna de Santa Rosa's 254-square-mile watershed
includes the entire Santa Rosa plain. Serving as a natural floodwater basin
for the lower Russian River, the Laguna is internationally recognized for
its biological importance. Its marshes, vernal pools, riparian woodland and
valley oak savannah are among the region's richest habitats for wildlife and
plants, including the special-status California Tiger Salamander, Sebastopol
meadowfoam and Lobb's aquatic buttercup.
Ten years ago, the Open
Space District secured conservation easements over the four farms in the
Laguna owned by the city of Santa Rosa and over property owned by the
Balletto family, which subsequently donated land to the county. The
District and partners then spent two years developing a trails plan for
public access on the properties. The goal was to create recreation and
education opportunities while also protecting sensitive resources and
keeping access compatible with existing agricultural uses.
The Laguna de Santa
Rosa Protected Lands Trail Plan envisions 12 miles of multi-use and
pedestrian-only trails. The trails generally will be placed between natural
and farmed areas. The trails will not enter the Laguna but rather will follow
the edge of its riparian vegetation. Future trail segments will be completed
when funding is available.
For more information, call Regional Parks
at (707) 565-2041.
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