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For Immediate Release

Summer shuttle to Russian River beaches returns this month

Regional Parks River Shuttle provides weekend and holiday transportation option to address impacts of increased summer visitation

Santa Rosa, CA | May 16, 2022

Sonoma County residents and visitors looking to swim, float or play at two of Sonoma County’s most popular Russian River beaches can avoid the likelihood of full parking lots by taking the Sonoma County Regional Parks River Shuttle this summer. 

“The Russian River is an important local and regional destination in Sonoma County,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors James Gore. “Yet with the ongoing extreme drought conditions, it also serves to remind us of the immediate impacts of climate change, and the need for continued focus on stewardship and adaption. Alternative transportation solutions like the Regional Parks River Shuttle contribute to lowering our collective carbon footprint as a county and as individuals.”

After a successful pilot launched last summer, Regional Parks is again contracting with C3 Transportation to run the shuttle service on weekends and holidays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., beginning Saturday, May 21, through Labor Day Weekend, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022.

Shuttles depart every 30 minutes from Tom Schopflin Fields on Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa and travel to Steelhead Beach Regional Park and Sunset Beach River Park in Forestville.

The shuttle service is part of a larger effort to lessen summer traffic impacts at Steelhead and Sunset beaches, where lots often fill by mid-morning. As a low-cost alternative to individual car trips, the shuttle improves beach access on busy Saturdays and Sundays, while alleviating traffic congestion and parking impacts in river neighborhoods by encouraging visitors to leave their cars in Santa Rosa. 

An average Russian River float trip requires two vehicles – one parked at the start and one at the end. The River Shuttle reduces two car trips to one shared vehicle trip, reducing the number of cars traveling to and from these popular summer destinations,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose 5th District encompasses the lower Russian River area. “The Regional Parks River Shuttle is an affordable, convenient and climate-smart choice for visiting the river.”

An all-day shuttle ticket costs $5 and are available  at russianrivershuttle.mytrakk.com.

The shuttle features three new, 39-seat, ADA-accessible, low-emission vans. Shuttles will adhere to all required COVID safety protocols.

Passengers can access the river for recreation at either beach. They may carry deflated rafts and tubes on the shuttle and blow them up at a free inflation station at Steelhead Beach.

"As part of our initiatives promoting responsible recreation, we hope that the Regional Parks River Shuttle becomes a model for balancing increasing visitation while decreasing visitor impacts at popular outdoor recreation destinations such as the Russian River,” said Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker.

For more information on the Regional Parks River Shuttle and route map, visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/visit/regional-parks-river-shuttle. 

Visitors who drive to Steelhead and Sunset beaches are advised to arrive early in the day. Rangers close park entrances temporarily when parking lots reach capacity, a frequent occurrence on summer weekends and days with high temperatures. Parking in river neighborhoods is not advised, and street parking regulations are strictly enforced.

Additionally, commercial shuttle and charter buses will not be permitted to park at the Regional Parks river beaches, with the exception of Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, on the days of River Shuttle operation. Commercial shuttle and charter buses may make free reservations with C3 Transportation to transport passengers on the Regional Parks River Shuttle at least 48 hours in advance by calling (415) 727-7158.

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Contact Information

Sarah Phelps
Marketing Specialist Regional Parks
(707) 331-9027
Sarah.Phelps@sonoma-county.org