President, Landis PR
Sonoma County Ag + Open Space
Sonoma County Regional Parks
Also creates possibility of future trail link to Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway and Trione-Annadel State Park
SANTA ROSA, CALIF — One of Sonoma County’s most popular regional parks is about to expand. Tomorrow, Sonoma Land Trust, in partnership with Regional Parks and Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, will complete an acquisition of 54 undeveloped acres immediately adjacent to and north of Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve in southeastern Santa Rosa. Named Cooper Creek, the Land Trust will immediately transfer the property upon closing to Sonoma County Regional Parks while Ag + Open Space will simultaneously protect it further with a conservation easement.
Getting more people out into nature
“This land will offer more people easy, walkable access to Taylor Mountain Regional Park and the many health and community benefits that parks provide,” says Eamon O’Byrne, executive director, Sonoma Land Trust. “Protecting Cooper Creek is part of a larger vision of ours — to create a network of parks through the heart of Santa Rosa and bring nature back to the city by restoring creeks and natural habitats.”
“We are so thankful for our partnership with Sonoma Land Trust, Ag + Open Space and the voters of Sonoma County for making park expansions like this possible. This important parcel of land will allow more trail access for neighborhoods and nearby disadvantaged communities,” says Bert Whitaker, director, Sonoma County Regional Parks.
The Cooper Creek Addition also adjoins a subdivision and was at high risk of being developed. By remaining in its natural state, it provides numerous vistas across southern Santa Rosa as well as a scenic backdrop to nearby neighborhoods. Over time, it is anticipated that the property, through a future Farmers Lane extension and associated bikeway, will facilitate trail connectivity to the long-awaited Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway — which will link up with Spring Lake Regional Park and Trione-Annadel State Park.
“This project offers a unique opportunity to expand neighborhood access to Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, enable future connections between the park and planned urban trails, and protect riparian habitat on a scenic hillside property,” says Bill Keene, general manager, Ag + Open Space. “We are pleased to have played a significant role in protecting it.”
The creek itself
The headwaters of Cooper Creek rise on the northern slopes of Taylor Mountain. The creek then flows north onto the Cooper Creek property, where it runs for a half mile through a steep and lush canyon formed by the Rodgers Creek fault. The creek is shaded by a forest of coast live oak, California bay laurel and California buckeye. The preservation of this reach of stream is recommended in the 2014 Santa Rosa Citywide Creek Master Plan because of its value for wildlife. The riparian (streamside) area provides cover, forage and water for numerous species and is a known wildlife migration corridor.
Financing the acquisition
Funding toward the purchase price of $1,350,000 was provided by Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, Parks Measure M sales tax approved by voters in 2018, California State Parks (Habitat Conservation Fund) and the California Coastal Conservancy.
“This project exemplifies how the County agencies and the nonprofit Land Trust work together to benefit our communities and the natural world on which we depend,” says O’Byrne. “We’re all very pleased about this acquisition and how it will enhance the ability of more people in urban Santa Rosa to access the incredible parks and open spaces that surround the city.”
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 more than 50,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust is the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.
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 118,000 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.
About Sonoma County Regional Parks
Sonoma County Regional Parks includes more than 50 parks and beaches from Petaluma to Gualala and Sonoma to Bodega Bay. Many offer wild landscapes and miles of trails. Others feature sports fields, playgrounds and campgrounds. Regional Parks also manages the county’s largest ocean marina and largest extracurricular environmental education center. Visit www.sonomacountyparks.org