The 1,100-acre Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, overlooking Santa Rosa, is set to open to the public tomorrow.

The county park features four miles of trails for hikers and three-miles for equestrians and cyclists. Another 17 miles of trails are still to be built.

An interim entrance on Kawana Terrace will be open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking is free for Regional Park members and $7 for non-members. Visitors should note that existing trails “Today’s action represents a long, collaborative effort to deliver this beautiful setting to the community,” said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, whose 3rd District includes most of Taylor Mountain. “More than 1,100 acres are being preserved as open space forever. There is no doubt that residents of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and the rest of the county will consider Taylor Mountain a place of respite and recreation for generations to come.”

Taylor Mountain consists of five contiguous parcels acquired by the Open Space District between 1995 and 2011 with funding from a voter-approved sales tax. A prominent county landmark, Taylor Mountain provides sweeping views of the Santa Rosa Plain, and its oak woodlands, meadows, wetlands and springs are habitat for a variety of wildlife.

“Taylor Mountain is another incredible addition to the permanently preserved natural resources of Sonoma County,” said Board of Supervisors and Open District Space District Chair David Rabbitt. “This acquisition demonstrates our county’s commitment to ensuring future generations can enjoy Sonoma County in the way previous generations have and that we are being responsible stewards of the land. The foresight of the voters to invest in the District is seen today as Taylor Mountain is protected for all time.”

Since 2010, the public has had limited use of Taylor Mountain through an interim-access program provided by the District and coordinated by the nonprofit conservation group LandPaths. Those who attended a free orientation received a permit to use the property for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

The site now has 4 miles of dirt trails along two routes, one of which leads up the mountain. A recently completed master plan for the property suggests the eventual development of 17 miles of primarily multi-use trails along with low-impact campsites, picnic sites, a visitor center and other recreation amenities closer to its urban boundaries.

Regional Parks soon will begin construction of the park’s first phase along Petaluma Hill Road. Work will include trails, a natural play course, picnic areas, restrooms and equestrian facilities, which will be accessed from a parking lot to be constructed south of Yolanda Avenue. The work is funded by a $750,000 state grant and completion is expected by summer of 2014. Additional trails and features will be added to the park as funding becomes available.

Visitors should note that existing trails are limited to pedestrians only during the winter, and one or both routes may be temporarily closed because of wet conditions. In keeping with the site’s agricultural history and resource management goals, cattle grazing will continue on the property after the park opens.

For more information, contact Regional Parks at 707-565-2041



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