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Sonoma Schellville Trail - Background

Looking north at former railroad right of way along 8th Street East

Project Background

Initially proposed by the community as a classic “rails to trails” project, the Sonoma Schellville Trail was subsequently adopted by the Board of Supervisors into the County General Plan in 1989. Regional Parks has been in and out of property negotiations with successor owners of the railroad right of way, now owned by Union Pacific. Because the asking price has exceeded fair market value, and because title has not been clear in some segments, Regional Parks has been unable to purchase the property. 

Over the past 15 years, adjacent property owners have purchased several segments of the right of way from Union Pacific to augment their development plans. As the property owners have applied for development permits, they have provided easements to Regional Parks. To date, Regional Parks has secured easements and fee title to four sections of the railroad right of way through this development process.

In 2009, the Board of Supervisors approved a four-lot residential subdivision that included public land dedicated for a trailhead at the southwest corner of East Napa Street and 8th Street East. Trailhead construction was completed in fall 2013. The improvements include a 10-car parking lot with landscaping and irrigation. The trailhead will open to public use when the trail is constructed.

Regional Parks is hoping to acquire the remaining sections of properties directly from Union Pacific, private property owners, and a license agreement from SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit).

Once acquisition is complete, the Regional Parks Department will proceed with community engagement, design and engineering, CEQA compliance and construction. The construction work will include, but not be limited to, asphalt paving, gravel shoulders, grading and drainage, striping, signage, and amenities.