Sometimes we take things for granted until we’re about to lose them. Due to severe budget cuts, California is facing closures of many of its state parks. Five of these parks are in the Santa Rosa area, which has the community rallying around the cause of protecting the park systems they love. The Sonoma County Trails Council (SCTC), a long-time advocacy organization in the area, is part of that rally.
The SCTC, in partnership with the Sonoma County Bicycling Coalition, hosted our Better Living Through Trails presentation at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center, where the topic was the health and economic benefits of trails and mountain biking. We didn’t have to convince County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who gave an impassioned presentation of her own on the benefits of parks and trails to our communities. Also in the audience were folks from the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, Petaluma City Council, Santa Rosa City Council, Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sonoma County Parks Foundation, Cotati Community Development, EcoRing, Land Paths, REI, Hill Jillys Women’s Bike Club, Backcountry Horsemen, NorCal Bike Sport, among others. What a testament to this community’s interest in preserving outdoor recreation opportunities in the area.
On Saturday, we held our all-day trail building school, where attendees learned about sustainable trail building and maintenance. Training volunteers ensures there’s an educated pool of volunteers that can apply techniques that will keep existing trails in good shape and create new trails that have minimal negative impacts to the environment and minimal user conflicts. For our afternoon trail project, volunteers performed maintenance on the Channel Trail in Annadel State Park, improving drainage in problem spots and installing rock causeways and armoring to improve the durability of the tread in wet conditions.
The SCTC then invited us to join them at their table at the Pasta Palooza event, put on by the Sonoma County Parks Foundation to raise money for Sonoma County Parks. The event, supported by donations from various area businesses and other contributors, sold out – a testament to the importance of parks and outdoor recreation to the community.
There is clearly a strong community of trail users in Santa Rosa who are coming together to preserve their parks and trails. Find out how you can get involved or make a contribution. The Sonoma County Trails Council is a great place to start!
Check out pictures from the weekend: