Sonoma Schellville Trail
The Sonoma County Regional Parks Department proposes to develop a 4-mile Class I bikeway (Sonoma-Schellville Trail) along the former Northwestern Pacific Railroad right of way, which partially parallels 8th Street East. The planned trail begins at Sebastiani Winery, near the terminus of the Sonoma Bike Path, and ends at Highway 121 and 8th Street East in Schellville. The planned trail also will ultimately serve as a link to the San Francisco Bay Trail.
Construct an 8-foot-wide paved, multiple-use trail along the former railroad right of way on the eastside of 8th Street East from Highway 121 to the Sonoma city limits.
Cost & Funding
This project is partially funded by Measure M, a Sonoma County quarter-cent sales tax, administered by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority. Measure M funds will be used as seed money to start the project and to leverage other state and federal transportation funds. The estimated total project cost is $1,835,000.
Initially proposed by the community as a classic “rails to trails” project, the Sonoma Schellville Trail was subsequently adopted by the Board of Supervisors into the county General Plan in 1989. Regional Parks has been in and out of property negotiations with the railroad right of way, now owned by Union Pacific. Because the asking price has exceeded fair market value, Regional Parks was unable to purchase the property. In addition, title has not been clear in some segments.
Over the past 15 years, adjacent property owners have purchased several segments of the right of way from Union Pacific to augment their development plans. As the property owners have applied for development permits, they have provided easements to Regional Parks. To date, Regional Parks has secured easements and fee title to four sections of the railroad right of way through this development process.
In 2009, the Board of Supervisors approved a four-lot residential subdivision that included public land dedicated for a trailhead at the southwest corner of East Napa Street and 8th Street East. Trailhead construction was completed in fall 2013. The improvements include a 10-car parking lot with landscaping and irrigation. The trailhead will open to public use when the trail is constructed.
Regional Parks is hoping to acquire the remaining sections of properties directly from Union Pacific, private property owners, and SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit). Once acquisition is complete, the Regional Parks Department will proceed with community engagement, design and engineering, CEQA compliance and construction. The construction work will include, but not be limited to: asphalt paving, gravel shoulders, grading and drainage, striping, signage, and amenities.
The county is researching the land ownership of the former railroad right of way. When the title research is completed in spring 2014, the county will restart negotiations with Union Pacific Railroad to acquire the remaining railroad right of way needed to construct the trail.
Opportunities to Become Involved
Future meetings will be scheduled to allow the public to provide input on the trail development. Please sign up for park planning updates by clicking the link on this page.