50th Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years

Sonoma County Regional Parks is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017!

Come along as we commemorate this milestone with a year of special hikes, outings and events. Visit our calendar to see the list of upcoming activities. 

We also look forward to sharing the stories of the parks throughout this special year. We'd love to hear about your connection to the parks too. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag your photos #MySonomaCountyParks to share what the parks mean to you. 

Our History

The Board of Supervisors on Jan. 30, 1967 created what was then called the Sonoma County Parks and Recreation Department. The Department had just one park - Doran Beach in Bodega Bay.

Our name was changed to Sonoma County Regional Parks in 1974 to differentiate us from city parks and recreation departments. 

Over the years, we've grown as we purchased land directly (e.g. Hood Mountain and Helen Putnam parks), accepted lands dedicated by individuals and developers (e.g. Gualala Point and Foothill parks), assumed smaller park districts in places like the Sonoma Valley (e.g. Kenwood Plaza and Larson Park), and managed lands owned by partners such as the Water Agency (e.g. Spring Lake and Riverfront parks.)

We've also grown due to the success of the voter-funded Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District, which acquired and transferred to us parks like Taylor Mountain, North Sonoma Mountain and Tolay Lake.

Regional Parks now includes more than 11,000 acres and hosts more than 5 million annual visitors at 56 parks, trails and beaches.

This expansion has occurred under Director Joe Rodota (1967-1990), Director Jim Angelo (1990-2004), Director Mary Burns (2004-2010) and Director Caryl Hart (2010-2017). 

Parks Today

The past six years have been a period of especially rapid expansion as we've worked to meet the growing demand for outdoor recreation services and land protections.

We've opened four major parks and trails in the past several years - Taylor Mountain, North Sonoma Mountain, the Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail, and the Coastal Prairie Trail - and added to parks like Hood Mountain, Sonoma Valley and Tolay Lake.

We've initiated major projects, such as designing Andy's Unity Park, studying the feasibility of the proposed Sonoma Valley bike and pedestrian trail, and planning the expanded trail network at Taylor Mountain

We also have worked to become more financially self-sufficient. Today, more than 25,000 people support the parks by purchasing annual memberships. Daily parking fees, camping fees, program registrations, grants and donations also help sustain the parks system. 

Our Future

The next 50 years promise continued opportunities for growth and stewardship along with the need to become more financially secure.

Community interest in new parks, trails and programs means we must continue looking for a dedicated funding source that, along with our earned income, makes the parks system financially sustainable.

We’re planning a series of community listening sessions this year, and we'll ask residents to share priorities and ideas for parks in their communities and countywide. We’ll then use that feedback to build a strategy for a more sustainable future.

We'll post the meeting schedule here once it's set. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more or get involved, please contact Deputy Director James Nantell at james.nantell@sonoma-county.org

Sonoma County Parks 50th Anniversary logo

Join us as we celebrate 50 years of parks with a year of special outings and events. Visit our calendar and choose the "50th Anniversary" filter to see a list of upcoming activities.

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