Do Your Part to Leave No Trace 

Sonoma County's regional parks are home to beautiful – and irreplaceable – natural and cultural resources, so as the popularity of outdoor recreation soars, it’s important to minimize our impacts on the environment. Please follow these Leave No Trace recommendations to help protect your parks and open spaces. 

Know Before You Go

  • Check conditions, as they can change unexpectedly. Once you've decided where you're headed, check the parks webpage to find status updates, maps, directions, and more.
  • Expect crowds. Russian River and Bodega Bay parks are popular summer destinations. Parking lots often fill by mid-morning on weekends and warm days. Arrive early or later in the day for the best chance of finding parking. Follow @SonomaParks on Twitter for real-time parking updates.
  • Have an alternate destination in mind. If a parking lot is full, dont create your own parking spot. Neighborhood parking is not advised, and street parking rules are strictly enforced. Our staff at the entry kiosks are happy to point you in the right direction so you can enjoy other parks, like those along north coast.
  • Wear a life vest and swim with a companion. Our river beaches have only intermittent lifeguard patrols, and our coastal beaches have no lifeguards. Loaner life vests are available at river beaches in the summer. With the exception of Doran Regional Park, do not swim or play in the surf at Sonoma Coast beaches.
  • No alcohol on river beaches.
  • Bringing your dog along? All regional parks allow dogs on leashes,  with the exception of Shiloh Ranch and North Sonoma Mountain. Keep Fido leashed when enjoying dog-friendly trails, and pack out their waste (all the way to a trashcan).

Stick to Trails

  • Trail maps are available for free and are posted at park entrances or can be downloaded from a park's webpage.
  • Even though shortcuts can be tempting, please dont take them. Staying on the trail will protect plants and the homes of the true locals: wildlife.

Trash Your Trash

  • Trash hurts wildlife and waterways. Pack out everything you pack in – or pick up more than you packed in and leave the place better than you found it.
  • If a park trash can is full, hang on to your garbage until you can dispose of it properly.
  • If you’re floating the river, take your raft or tube home with you. Floats left on the beach can cause negative ecological impacts.

Leave It As You Find It

  • Leave plants, rocks, historical items and sea life as you find them so others can also experience the thrill of discovery. Take a photo instead. It will last longer – and help to protect Sonoma County’s natural beauty for the next generation.

Be Careful with Fire

  • Dry conditions can increase the risk of wildfires. Learn the basics about fire safety and always remember to fully extinguish a fire before leaving it.
  • Build fires only in designated fire pits. Beach bonfires are prohibited in all our parks.

Keep Wildlife Wild

  • Give wildlife space (but not your food). Be respectful of wild animals and keep your distance. Getting close to photograph or feed an animal may seem harmless, but each one of these interactions can lead to habituation, which has far-reaching, negative impacts that can include injury to humans or wildlife.
  • Wildlife you may see in Sonoma County include: bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. To be safe, enjoy all wildlife from a distance and keep a clean campsite.

Share The Outdoors

  • Be considerate of others enjoying the same shared space. Keep music at a low volume, give others room, and generally be courteous to those around you.

Sonoma County Regional Parks is proud to partner with Sonoma County Tourism and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Leave No Trace logo