Santa Rosa, CA – January 10, 2018 – Sonoma County Regional Parks will receive a $620,000 state grant to study the feasibility of creating a bicycle and pedestrian trail along the lower Russian River.
Responding to community interest and safety concerns, Regional Parks requested the grant from the California Department of Transportation to evaluate the potential for a trail running parallel to but separate from River Road and Highway 116.
The 19.3-mile study area runs along the river between Forestville and Highway 1 and includes the communities of Mirabel, Hacienda, Odd Fellows Park, Rio Nido, Guerneville, Guernewood Park, Vacation Beach, Northwood, Monte Rio, Villa Grande, Mesa Grande, and Duncans Mills.
A multi-use trail would provide a safe walking and cycling alternative for commuters and visitors traveling the corridor, including children and families getting to and from Monte Rio and Guerneville elementary schools. A trail also would add to recreation options in the popular tourism area and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by the more than 11,000 daily car trips on the route now.
“The grant is a great first step toward creating a long-awaited path along this beautiful corridor," said Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. "A bike and pedestrian path would allow those who live in and love West County to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lower Russian River while safely commuting to school, work or home.”
State officials notified Regional Parks of the award in December. The study could begin in the summer of 2018 and will include opportunities for residents, business owners and others to offer feedback on the potential linkages. Study findings would guide subsequent steps of trail design, acquisition, planning, environmental review, and fundraising.
The total estimated cost for the study is $793,500, with additional funding including $120,000 from the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, $5,000 from the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, $5,000 from the Monte Rio Recreation & Park District, $2,500 from the Russian River Recreation & Parks District, $1,000 from The Wildlands Conservancy, and $10,000 from the Sonoma County Advertising Program and local park mitigation fees.
Visit the project planning page to sign up for updates on the study and to see a map of study area.
Regional Parks has been awarded similar grants in recent years to study two other major bike and pedestrian trails. One is a proposed 13-mile trail between Sebastopol and Petaluma. That feasibility study is expected to be completed in March. The other trail studied is a proposed 13-mile Sonoma Valley trail connecting Santa Rosa and Sonoma. That feasibility study was completed in 2016 and identified a preferred trail alignment that could be built in phases as funding becomes available.
About Sonoma County Regional Parks
Established in 1967, the Sonoma County Regional Parks system today includes 56 parks, beaches, and trails. Its mission is to create healthy communities and contribute to the county’s economic vitality by acquiring, developing, managing, maintaining parks. Regional Parks preserves natural and cultural resources and offers opportunities for recreation and education that enhance the quality of life and well-being of residents and visitors.