The West County Gateway is a working title for a concept that would improve recreation access to the many public and protected lands in the western half of Sonoma County. The west county includes thousands of acres of parklands with full public access as well as lands that have been acquired for future parklands. These properties offer many recreation opportunities, but public access is limited because of inadequate roads and parking and the lack of trail connections and visitor services. The “Gateway” idea involves facilitating greater public enjoyment of these lands, but doing so in a way that doesn’t intrude on the surrounding communities.
For example, services might include a visitor’s center that links people to outdoor recreation opportunities in the west county. The center might include equipment rentals, a small farmer’s market and outdoor eating area or even shuttle services to outlying parklands.
Regional Parks has been working with the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program to explore the concept. The program provides technical assistance to communities so they can conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways. The draft steps outlined in our agreement with the National Parks Service Assistance Program identifies many proposed outreach and public planning processes.
To date, no formal planning process for the West County Gateway has begun. If the project is funded, Regional Parks' first step would be outreach to the community, including public meetings.