For Immediate Release
Public input sought for Sonoma Valley’s Calabazas Creek Regional Park and Open Space Preserve
Community invited to weigh in on trails, camping, education and stewardship at future parkland
SONOMA, CA | August 03, 2023
Sonoma County Regional Parks seeks community input to help shape the future of Calabazas Creek Regional Park and Open Space Preserve near Glen Ellen in the Mayacamas Mountains. The department is creating a master plan to guide the development of accessible trails and spaces, recreational and educational uses and stewardship of the natural resources. The public is encouraged to share their desires, thoughts and feedback by taking a survey at CalabazasCreekParkAndPreserve.org through Oct. 1, 2023.
"It's exciting to reach another milestone in the creation of a park for all to enjoy," said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin, whose First District encompasses the property. "Located near Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Sonoma Valley Regional Park, this parkland holds so much potential – from expanding wildlife corridors to creating trails that might connect with other networks, and preserving open space buffers that reduce wildfire risk. We encourage the community to get involved and help guide the future of this natural sanctuary."
The 1,290-acre site, not yet regularly open to the public, contains an array of ecosystems and rare plant species, plus notable wildlife such as peregrine falcons and northern spotted owls. Its namesake creek supports a variety of species, including steelhead trout, foothill yellow-legged frog and California giant salamander. Located at the end of Nuns Canyon Road, the mountain peaks and forested slopes of the park are visible from the Highway 12 scenic corridor.
The property also has a storied history, located within the traditional tribal territories of the Coast Miwok, Wappo and Southern Pomo. One of the previous landowners was Mary Ellen Pleasant, a former slave turned civil rights leader and San Francisco entrepreneur in the late 1800s, who named the property Beltane Ranch. In 2004, the upper ranchland that now comprises the park and preserve was sold to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space). The lower ranchland adjacent to the preserve still bears the name Beltane Ranch and has been stewarded by the same family for more than 75 years.
In 2021 Ag + Open Space transferred the property to Sonoma County Regional Parks, contributing more than $1.08 million toward studies, planning, community engagement, design, engineering, construction, operations and maintenance. Planning for the park’s opening has been ongoing, and public Park Preview Days, co-hosted by Regional Parks and Ag + Open Space, have been giving the community glimpses of this property’s potential.
An additional $200,000 for the project's planning process and initial public access improvements has been identified from Regional Parks’ Parks for All — Measure M tax funding and $152,670 from park mitigation fees.
Public input will be incorporated into developing a draft master plan, a process which typically takes 12 to 18 months and involves extensive environmental review. The draft plan will undergo another public review period, with the final draft master plan expected to go before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for consideration in 2024.
Learn more about the future regional park and take the survey at CalabazasCreekParkAndPreserve.org.There, you can read about the project in detail, view an interactive map and submit questions and feedback. A hard copy of the survey and documents can be requested by contacting Park Planner Emily Podolak at Emily.Podolak@sonoma-county.org or (707) 565-6726.
Sarah Phelps, Marketing Specialist
Sonoma County Regional Parks
Sonoma County Regional Parks provides essential opportunities for people to connect with nature. We contribute to the vibrancy and well-being of our community by expanding access to recreation experiences, serving as responsible stewards of cultural and natural resources, and ensuring that our parks are clean, safe and welcoming. Learn more at SonomaCountyParks.org.