For Immediate Release
Public boat launch, new Russian River access opens in Guerneville
Major upgrades to downtown regional park completed
Sonoma County, CA | August 11, 2022
Boaters, anglers and other river recreation enthusiasts may now begin or end their adventures on the Russian River near the downtown area of Guerneville, as Sonoma County Regional Parks has officially opened the community’s first public boat launch and portage at Guerneville River Park this month. The new launch area, designed for canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and other non-motorized watercraft, is part of Regional Parks’ efforts to improve river access and public recreation opportunities on the Russian River.
In addition to the non-motorized boat ramp, new park enhancements include a second vehicle entrance off of Highway 116 and parking lot, ADA accessible trails, family picnic sites, a small group picnic site, and native riparian habitat replanting.
“These improvements increase equitable river access and recreation opportunities for residents and visitors to the Russian River,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose 5th District encompasses the lower Russian River. “This is a wonderful example of our tax dollars being used to prioritize park amenities that balance the economic benefits of tourism with improving the quality of life within a community.”
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 and the historic bridge remains as a bicycle and pedestrian river crossing between the park and the downtown area.
The entire project, including pre-planning, consultant services, design, engineering, permitting, project mitigation, bidding, and construction, was funded by grants from the State Parks Division of Boating Waterways ($650,000) and the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District ($368,000); $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, approved by Sonoma County voters in 2018.
“The addition of a public boat launch in Guerneville will provide a nearby alternative to the heavily used river access locations on the lower Russian River,” said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker. “The ongoing development of this central river park improves local recreational opportunities for birdwatchers, walkers and families, as well as anglers and boaters.”
The Russian River is one of the most popular waterways for non-motorized boaters on the North Coast. Surveys have shown that more than half of Russian River users participate in canoeing, kayaking and boating. Additionally, linking a public boat launch within walking distance to the community’s downtown opens up opportunities for businesses serving park and river visitors.
With the opening of the new facilities, Guerneville River Park becomes one of Regional Parks’ nine public access points on the Russian River, and another point on the Russian River Water Trail, a coordinated system of river access sites running 68 miles from the Mendocino County line through Sonoma County to the Pacific Ocean.
For additional information, visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/visit/find-a-park/guerneville-river-park. Parking is free and dogs are allowed on leash.
Sonoma County Regional Parks