Update on North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park Development

View from North Sonoma Regional Park

by Rebecca Casciani and Jennifer Beer

Rebecca Cascani, Jennifer Beer, Moira Jacobs, and Craig Harrison met with Supervisor Gorin and Parks Director Bert Whitaker on November 13. We reviewed community feedback and survey results that responded to the development of North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park that was announced in September 2020.

Our primary goal was to communicate clearly our position on park development, but more specifically community response to any kind of camping or campfires in the park. We showed that there is overwhelming community agreement, and facts, that camping and any kind of fires or cooking in the park is neither safe nor supported by the community.

To support these conclusions, we discussed several topics. First, that the egress and ingress to the park does not meet Cal Fire road safe standards and is not adequate for any kind of evacuation or emergency vehicle to access. Second, we discussed the lack of current fire and vegetation management. The park has not burned for over 100 years and the current plan for parks only addresses cleanup and management for parks post-fire, not pre-fire. We noted that the development proposal was created just prior to the 2017 Nun’s Fire but needs to be adjusted taking into account what we now know about climate impact on fires and water accessibility. Also, the lack of current residents’ ability to retain or acquire fire insurance is a major factor as to why fires should not be promoted inside the park.

We provided alternative options for camping, per Supervisor Gorin’s request. The most conservative option of the proposal includes only three campsites, so we suggested expanding Spring Lake Campground or other established camping areas in parks due to their accessibility to water and emergency services. We clearly communicated the tradeoff for three campsites and the level of increased risk in the park does not make sense. In addition, it is costly to develop camping in a whole new park, rather than expanding an existing campground.

Supervisor Gorin suggested that we reach out to other four county supervisors and present this data to them as she is only one vote. Community members should also continue to write in and voice their concerns and experiences with prior fires, or insurance issues, as well as general concerns to the parks department and copy your county supervisor.

See presentation to Supervisor Susan Gorin and Bert Whitaker.

Please contact Rebecca Casciani or Jennifer Beer if you would like additional information about the park’s current plan.

Rebecca Casciani (707) 888-7960 smrbattalion@gmail.com

Jennifer Beer jennifernbeer@gmail.com