Taylor Mountain Master Plan Approved
October 9, 2012
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors,
acting concurrently as directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation
and Open Space District, on Oct. 9 approved a comprehensive master plan for
creating a regional park and open space preserve on the Taylor Mountain
properties in southeast Santa Rosa. Over two years in the making, this
blueprint for the Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve
details how to provide hiking, camping and other recreation opportunities and
protect the environmental and agricultural value of the 1,100-acre site.
Completion of the master plan is a major step toward the opening of the park
and preserve. With the plan approved, the Open Space District is expected to
transfer title of the land to Regional Parks this winter. Meanwhile, Regional
Parks is exploring options for allowing public use of Taylor Mountain's
existing trails without the special permits currently required.
master plan is a major accomplishment and represents an extensive,
collaborative effort to bring the community into the planning process," said
Supervisor Shirlee Zane, whose 3rd District includes Taylor Mountain. "Taylor
Mountain is an amazing resource in the middle of Santa Rosa and the park and
preserve will give so many new park users a place to nourish their bodies and
The Taylor Mountain preserve consists of five contiguous
properties acquired by the Open Space District from 1995 to 2011 with funding
from a voter-approved sales tax. The District and Regional Parks in 2010
began developing a park master plan that sought to balance recreation with
preservation. The goal was to make appropriate areas of the park as accessible
as possible but also to protect its natural beauty and diversity. Community
input was a key part of the process, with about 500 people attending a series
of public meetings and giving planners feedback on park amenities and
The result is the 246-page Taylor Mountain
Regional Park and Open Space Preserve Master Plan approved Tuesday. The plan
calls for 17 miles of mostly multi-use trails for hikers, cyclists and
equestrians. Trailheads will be located off of Petaluma Hill and Kawana
Springs roads, with limited access from Linwood Avenue and Panorama Drive.
Campsites, picnic areas and a visitor center will be built on the edges of
the property closer to urban areas. Cattle grazing will continue in some
sections of the preserve.
Regional Parks earlier this year was awarded
a $750,000 state grant to design and construct the first phase of the park.
This work will be concentrated off of Petaluma Hill Road and will include a
driveway, parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, play area, and trail
connections. Work is expected to be finished by summer of 2014. Additional
trails and park features will be developed over time as funding becomes
"Taylor Mountain is unique because it is so close to an
urban area, yet is home to so many amazing natural habitats that support
wildlife such as mountain lion, deer, fox, and even the federally-protected
California red-legged frog," said Bill Keene, general manager of the Open
Space District. "This project preserves a scenic natural area as open space
forever and creates recreational opportunities for people from all walks
The Taylor Mountain properties include grasslands, oak
woodlands, meadows, wetlands and ridges. The land primarily has been used
for ranching, although one section is the location of the historical Kawana
Springs Resort. The preserve's highest point is approximately 1,300 feet
and offers sweeping views of the Santa Rosa Plain, Bennett Valley and the
We look forward to coming back to the Board to
finalize the transfer of Taylor Mountain and opening a new county park,"
said Caryl Hart, director of Regional Parks. "Taylor Mountain is the
backdrop to Santa Rosa and a spectacular landscape, a place that
generations to come will enjoy and appreciate.
The master plan can be
viewed at sonomaopenspace.org.
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