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Tolay Lake Regional Park – Gathering Area

View from the top of Tolay Gathering site

What & Why?

Tolay Lake Regional Park Gathering Area is being designed for construction. It is the first element of the Tolay Lake Regional Park Master Plan to be constructed. The Outdoor Class/Stage (Element BB in the Master Plan) will be the new Gathering Area located at the Park Complex, just uphill from Willow Pond and the existing group picnic area. The site is on a gently sloping hill facing Tolay Lake and Valley. Scenic views from the site include Tolay Lake, Creek, and Valley, with Mount Diablo as a backdrop in the distance.

Sonoma Regional Parks and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria co-management of the park is a product of collaborative work to complete the Final EIR and Master Plan for the park. Through this partnership, a team has been assembled to oversee the design and construction of the Gathering Area. Following a coordinated effort in the first phase of master plan construction, the team has applied for and received grant funding, and developed design ideas. This group is now actively reviewing and managing the consultant’s design and engineering for the Gathering Area, through project construction completion.

The Gathering Area is being designed for versatility of use. It includes a covered stage for large events, performances, and celebrations with a formal seating area consisting of wood benches and seat wall near the stage. More informal lawn seating is available and suitable for vendors or other activities. Additionally, there is amphitheater seating on the grassy hillside for families to sprawl out on blankets.

The design intent is to support small and more intimate programming needs as well. Compact circular terraced areas for smaller group teaching or activities will be found throughout the site, all including a paved surface and seat wall with a distinct interpretive element.

The design focus is oriented toward creating accommodations for all in the Gathering Area with improvements such as walkways and access from current accessible parking areas. The existing group picnic sites are located at the entry to the Gathering Area. Aesthetic and accessible improvements will be implemented in this space, including simple cleanup, paint, and other improvements to infrastructure.

Several of the large eucalyptus trees have fallen nearby; while the project will not remove all the eucalyptus along the Cardoza Road Trail, it will remove those surrounding the Gathering Area. In their place, native trees will be planted to provide shade, beautify, and support the sites wildlife habitat with refuge, nesting, and food resources. Ethnobotanical plants, those that are important to tribal culture (medicinally, nutritionally, and for basket weaving), are being installed to support cultural resources and as an essential interpretive element of design.

What's Next?

Staff and crews will work on preparing the site for construction and repairing and making improvements to the group picnic area.

Please use caution and respect construction signs to aid crews completing work at the site.