Guerneville, CA – September 7, 2021 – The community of Guerneville will soon get its ﬁrst public boat launch as part of Sonoma County Regional Parks’ eﬀort to expand river access and public recreation on the Russian River. Construction of the launch area for non-motorized watercraft began in August at Guerneville River Park.
The project includes the addition of a second park entrance oﬀ of Highway 116, a new parking lot, more paths, picnic sites, and trails for groups and families. Plans for the boat launch at Guerneville River Park include parking, a vehicle turnaround and a ramp for hand-launching boats.
The park expansion will beneﬁt non-motorized boaters, anglers, picnickers, walkers, nature lovers, and those seeking an alternative to the heavily used river access locations in Forestville and Monte Rio.
“This project will transform Guerneville River Park into a safe and convenient place for community river access, within walking or biking distance for families, and will signiﬁcantly improve public access to the river in town, which is critical to supporting tourism,” said Sonoma County Board Chair and Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose 5th District includes Guerneville.
Regional Parks has managed the 5.3-acre park, located across the river from downtown Guerneville, for more than a decade. The property was deeded to the county by Caltrans after the current Highway 116 bridge was built. The historic bridge remains as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing between the park and the downtown area.
The entire project is funded by a $650,000 State Parks Division of Boating Waterways grant, a $368,000 Matching Grant from the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, $203,662 from State Parks Prop 68 Per Capita Program, $80,000 in local park mitigation fees, and $150,000 in Parks for All Measure M tax funding, which was approved by Sonoma County voters in 2018.
On Aug. 17, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the contract to begin construction.
“We’re gratiﬁed to see this project move forward, expanding the river access and recreation opportunities for residents and visitors on the lower Russian River,” said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker. “The addition of a public boat launch in Guerneville will help reduce traﬃc at other launch points and create a convenient take-out spot for boaters, kayakers, canoers, rafters, stand up paddle boarders and many others.”
The Russian River is one of the most popular waterways for non-motorized boaters on the North Coast, and more than half of river visitors use the river for canoeing, kayaking and boating. After the addition of the new facilities, Guerneville River Park will become one of Regional Parks’ eight public access points on the Russian River and part of the Russian River Water Trail, a coordinated system of river access sites envisioned to run 68 miles from the Mendocino County line through Sonoma County to the Paciﬁc Ocean.
Additionally, linking a public boat launch to the community’s downtown opens up opportunities for businesses serving park and river visitors, while reducing traﬃc congestion along main street Guerneville.
Construction at Guerneville River Park began in August and is expected to last through winter 2021, weather permitting. The new facilities are expected to be available for public use by spring 2022. No closures, parking or user impacts are anticipated.
For additional information, visit sonomacounty.ca.gov/Parks/Planning/Guerneville-River-Park-Phase-2/ or email Senior Park Planner Mark Cleveland at Mark.Cleveland@sonoma-county.org.