The Point Reyes of Sonoma County – Jenner Headlands and Pole Mountain Preserves to Open September 7
JENNER, Calif. — The Wildlands Conservancy’s Gateway to Jenner Headlands Preserve will enjoy its public opening September 7. Visitors to Sonoma County’s stunning coast will now have the opportunity to explore at their leisure and free of charge the trails of this spectacular 5,630-acre nature preserve, and to climb to the top of the highest peak along the coast — on Sonoma Land Trust’s Pole Mountain Preserve.
Located two miles north of the town of Jenner on the east side of Highway 1, the much-anticipated Gateway to Jenner Headlands includes a 30-space parking lot, interpretive signage, restrooms and a trailhead inviting visitors to 14 miles of trails and breathtaking scenery. Following years of careful design and planning, The Wildlands Conservancy and its partners, including Sonoma Land Trust and Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, have struck a balance in design and management to embrace recreation, restoration, and preservation.
David Myers, The Wildlands Conservancy’s executive director, acknowledges the effort involved and impact made by protecting the Jenner Headlands and opening the Preserve to the public. “We would like to thank all of the partners and participants whose dedication and hard work have helped to protect this magnificent landscape — a landscape that will enrich visitors’ lives with beauty and inspiration for all time to come.”
The opening of the Gateway to Jenner Headlands Preserve, much like the complex, five-year-long acquisition of the property, would not have been possible had it not been for the generous support of project partners, including the State Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Wildlands Conservancy, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Ag + Open Space and others.
Opening the gates to the Jenner Headlands Preserve is the culmination of more than a decade of work that started in 2005 when Sonoma Land Trust began raising $36 million to acquire the property for conservation. The Land Trust closed on the Jenner Headlands deal in 2009 thanks to the collaboration of 10 public and private funding partners, including Ag + Open Space, which holds a perpetual conservation easement ensuring protection of the land forever, and The Wildlands Conservancy, the permanent steward of the property since 2013. Management of the land and its recreational opportunities are guided by an Integrated Resource Management Plan developed by the Land Trust and the Conservancy.
Shortly after The Wildlands Conservancy took ownership of the Jenner Headlands, Sonoma Land Trust again partnered with Ag + Open Space, among others, to purchase Pole Mountain in 2014. Situated between Jenner Headlands and Sonoma Land Trust’s Little Black Mountain Preserve, the acquisition connects more than 6,300 acres of wild land — for wildlife and for recreation. As the highest peak along the Sonoma Coast at 2,204 feet, Pole Mountain presents unobstructed, 360-degree views of Sonoma County, from the coast to the Cedars, and far beyond.
“A hike from the Jenner Headlands to the top of Pole Mountain is to explore coastal fields, forests and vistas that have drawn people here for millennia,” said Dave Koehler, executive director of Sonoma Land Trust. “The success of our partnership to protect this special place and open the public trail will be measured in the years ahead by visitors of all ages whose hearts and minds become connected to the land and are inspired onward to care for its future.”
“The opening of the Jenner Headlands Preserve and Pole Mountain is the culmination of more than a decade of hard work from a group of dedicated individuals and organizations,” said Ag + Open Space general manager Bill Keene. “We are so proud to have been able to contribute $10 million on behalf of Sonoma County residents to protect these two amazing natural and recreational gems, and look forward to watching our community explore this magnificent area for generations to come.”
The Gateway to Jenner Headlands will be open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset starting Friday, September 7. Parking and access to Jenner Headlands Preserve and Pole Mountain are provided free of charge by The Wildlands Conservancy. Hikers taking up the challenge to summit Pole Mountain from the Gateway parking lot are encouraged to head out early to complete the strenuous, 14-mile round-trip hike by sunset.
About The Wildlands Conservancy
Since acquiring its first preserve in 1995, The Wildlands Conservancy as remained dedicated to preserving important and remarkable landscapes and opening them to the public free of charge for passive recreation and outdoor education. Wildlands owns and stewards nearly 150,000 acres across fifteen nature preserves and reserves across California—the largest nonprofit preserve system in the state. Ultimately, saving our treasured landscapes means educating and instilling a love for nature in future generations. For this reason, Wildlands is also the state’s nonprofit leader in providing free outdoor education opportunities for California youth. Through these programs and our reverent stewardship of preserves—visited by more than a half million people per year—we foster a love and respect for life in all of its magnificent forms. For more information, please visit www.wildlandsconservancy.org.
About Sonoma Land Trust
Sonoma Land Trust believes land is the foundation of our economy and our community’s health and well-being. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected over 50,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations, and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
About Sonoma County Ag + Open Space
Sonoma County Ag + Open Space permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. The district is responsible for the perpetual protection of over 114,000 acres of land throughout our region. These agricultural and open space lands are protected through a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit www.sonomaopenspace.org.