A new year is always an exciting time, and we're especially pleased to welcome 2017 because we're turning 50 this year! In fact, it was in January of 1967 that the county created the parks system. Back then, we had only one property: Doran Beach. Half a century later, we're 56 parks strong, and we're celebrating with outings and events throughout the year. First up is our new "Sunrise Seekers" monthly hiking series, which sets out Feb. 1 at Shiloh Ranch. Our goal is to hike 50 miles total while seeing a year of sunrises from our best mountain tops. We hope you'll join us.
Hibernation Cure? Our New Activities Guide
Embrace the season by downloading the first of our new seasonal activity guides and exploring with us on a variety of winter hikes and happenings across the county. The guide brings together all our events in an easy-to-share format. Look for our next edition in March - it will be filled with spring adventures and 50th anniversary activities.
Families, come out and join CBC4Kids on Saturday, Jan. 14. It's a bird-watching event modeled after the century-old tradition of the Audubon Christmas Bird Counts. Children ages 8 to 16 will learn how to identify and monitor birds in Sonoma Valley parks while contributing to one of the country's largest citizen science initiatives.
This week's storms certainly left their marks on the Regional Parks. The flooding that closed Spring Lake and the Russian River parks was the most extensive we've experienced since 2006. This slideshow shows some of the high-water scenes. We appreciate your patience as we get the parks cleaned and reopened. Check SonomaCountyParks.org and our Facebook page for the latest updates.
An environmental study of the proposed Tolay Lake Regional Park master plan is available for public review and comment through late February. The master plan is a blueprint for the park's future, and this study evaluates the potential environmental impacts of allowing hiking, biking, camping, ranching and other proposed activities when the park fully opens to the public.
We're proud to announce the installation of Sonoma County's first wheelchair-accessible kayak launch. The project was among many improvements just completed at Westside Regional Park with a $1.8 million state grant. We added the launch, a third boating lane, and new docks, renovated restrooms and picnic areas, and spruced up the cleaning stations at this park and campground on Bodega Harbor. A similar project is planned for Doran Regional Park within the year.
Helen Putnam, Westside, Taylor Mountain and Ragle Ranch parks all have received or are about to receive several new picnic tables or benches. If you've been thinking about establishing a tribute in our parks, please contact the Regional Parks Foundation and learn about this new selection. Table and bench sponsorships are tax deductible and generally cost $1,500 for 10 years. For more information, call (707) 565-1355.