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Laguna Trail Phase I - Background

Laguna de Santa Rosa trail

Project Background

The Laguna de Santa Rosa is the largest freshwater wetland complex in Sonoma County. Its 250-square-mile watershed includes Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Sebastopol, Forestville and Windsor. The Laguna is the primary drainage of the Santa Rosa Plain and a major floodwater storage basin for the lower Russian River. The Laguna also provides habitat for diverse wildlife and plant species.

In September 2001, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (District) secured conservation easements over the City of Santa Rosa’s Alpha, Brown, Kelly, and Stone farms. In February 2002, a conservation easement was obtained over 65 acres of the Balletto property. Subsequently, the Balletto property has been transferred in fee title to the County of Sonoma. All of these properties are located within the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

In December 2006, the District Board of Supervisors approved the Laguna de Santa Rosa Protected Lands Trails Plan and adopted the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration. The Trails Plan consists of proposed trails on five properties – the four farm properties owned by the City of Santa Rosa, and the Balletto property which is now owned by the County. 

The goal of the Trails Plan is to balance recreation with the protection and preservation of sensitive natural and cultural resources, while creating public trails that allow users a variety of experiences and the opportunity to appreciate the Laguna de Santa Rosa's diverse ecological and scenic resources. The Trails Plan identifies trail alignments, public access and interpretive facilities to accommodate hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. The trails and overlooks are sited and designed to provide Americans with Disabilities (A.D.A.) access, avoid sensitive habitat areas, and respect existing agricultural and other uses. 


The 1st Phase of the Laguna Trails Plan was to construct 2.4 miles of trails between Sebastopol and Santa Rosa in Supervisorial District 5.  This work was completed through a partnership with the Open Space District, City of Sebastopol, City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Water Agency, and Regional Parks. 

The trail crosses Kelly Farm, the Balletto property, and the City of Sebastopol’s Laguna Wetland Preserve, and consisted of building two trailheads, parking, a 1.8-mile multi-use trail, a 0.6-mile pedestrian-only trail, bike racks, horse rail, benches, gates, and an overlook area. The multi-use trail has a decomposed granite surface, and the pedestrian-only trail has a dirt surface. The trail was opened to the public on November 16, 2012.

Laguna Map
(PDF: 2.27 MB)

Project Funding & Partners

The Phase 1 construction cost was funded by a $500,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy and $274,429 from the District’s sales tax revenue from Measure C.

The Open Space District, City of Sebastopol, City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Water Agency and Regional Parks worked together to implement the first phase of the Laguna Trails Plan.