Enjoying summer without leaving a trace

As we're exploring parks and beaches this summer, let's embrace the Leave No Trace principles that help keep landscapes clean, wildlife safe and visitors happy.

Trash your trash
A key tenent of Leave No Trace is "trash your trash," which means properly throwing away or packing out what you bring into a park. The summertime litter we see most often includes food waste, cans, bottles, fishing line, pet waste and inflatable rafts and tubes. While it may be tempting to leave something in the park if you're not near a trash can or the can is full, that litter adds up and harms the environment and the visitor experience. Learn how you can practice Leave No Trace principles tailored for Sonoma County.

Sign up for the Steelhead Hot Spot
Regional Parks and the Leave No Trace Center of Outdoor Ethics are co-hosting Aug. 4 cleanups on and along the Russian River to help reduce summer recreation impacts at this visitor "hot spot". We'll launch kayaks from Steelhead Beach, paddle to Sunset Beach to pick up litter along the way and shuttle back to Steelhead. Sign up for a kayaking spot, or if you prefer to stay on shore, sign up for a land-based cleanup at Steelhead or Sunset.

Kids can learn Leave No Trace too
Bring the kids to the Environmental Discovery Center at Spring Lake any weekend this summer for crafts and activities that will introduce them to Leave No Trace and what responsible recreation means for families.

Earn your Leave No Trace Certificate
Join a us for a day at Doran Beach to look at the park with a Leave No Trace perspective. You'll gain a larger understanding of visitor and environmental issues and earn a Leave No Trace Awareness Certificate.
Shady hikes for beating the heat

On hot days, we naturally seek out the cool green of a forest, so here are six of our favorite tree-lined trails from around the county. Read on for some forested hikes that are perfect for escaping summer heat.
Don't let your Russian River float trip go flat

Summer float season is upon us. Cruising the Russian River in a tube is an iconic summer experience in Sonoma County. But preparation is key to a successful float. Brush up on our recommended do's and don'ts for a good trip, including riding Regional Parks' River Shuttle on weekends.
River safety: Free life vests for the taking
Look for free “loaner” life vests at Del Rio Woods, Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Steelhead Beach, Forestville River Access and Sunset Beach all summer. Just grab a vest from the stand on the beach and return it when you leave. 

Swimming near a lifeguard is always smart, and Regional Parks' lifeguards are on duty daily at Veterans Memorial Beach. See this river safety post for more tips.
Slipping and sliding through the Water Park
Have you taken the kids to the Water Park at Spring Lake this summer? There are some new features for the season, and this video lets you see what it's like to navigate this floating playground and why falling off is half the fun.The Water Park is open daily through Labor Day for kids 6 and older and at least 42 inches tall.
Want a quieter alternative for getting on the water at Spring Lake? Hourly kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals are available daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. You can book online anytime or by walk-up when boats are available.
How to share the beach with snowy plovers

The Western snowy plover is a small shoreline bird that was once widespread along the North Coast, but is now a threatened species due to its decreasing numbers. Our latest "Ask Parks" video explains how we can safely share the shore with plovers at Doran and other beaches. You also can support our habitat restoration work in the Doran dunes by contributing to the natural resources fund at the Regional Parks Foundation.
Join us for July Outings
Settle down at sundown

Unwind and immerse yourself in nature at Doran Beach on July 18 as part of our twilight series that focuses on wellness and relaxation. We take walks, journal, stretch and breathe deeply and go home feeling refreshed. Join us.
Calabazas Creek preview

Explore Calabazas Creek, a future park, with a self-guided hike on July 24. Park staff and volunteers will be available to answer questions about this amazing property, which boasts a fascinating history, beautiful vistas, creekside treasures and challenging hiking. Sign up.
Solutions Sunday

Kids 7-10 can explore some ways that science is helping our community in the fight against climate change through games, crafts, and experimentation at the Environmental Discovery Center on July 24. Adults can head out into Spring Lake Park to enjoy rejuvenating, kid-free time! More information.
Winging it Wednesday

Enjoy leisurely bird walks for all levels of experience on the last Wednesday of the month. These outings are designed especially for older adults to enjoy nature, each other’s company, and the unique avian friends found at each park. The next outing is July 27 at Riverfront Regional Park. Find out more.
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Sonoma County Regional Parks
(707) 565-2041