Like many State Parks throughout California, Sugarloaf Ridge in the Sonoma Valley is facing major cuts to services and funding. The car park and campground have been closed. Visitors can still walk in – for now – but the rules are still evolving:
Taylor, who said he runs regularly, explained he had bought a house three weeks earlier just below the park boundary. He called the closure “bad timing,” and said, “This was one of the attractions for moving here. Sugarloaf is more remote than Annadel – I like that – and it has more hills.”
Taylor added, “I wish it (the closure) wasn’t necessary, if, in fact, it is necessary.”
Taylor and other residents are trying to ensure it is not necessary. For many locals, walking and running in the park is part of their routine, and the park also contains the only public camp ground in the Sonoma Valley. Residents have a plan to keep the park open:
A private initiative to provide alternative management for the park, and re-open it by spring, is being pursued by the Parks Alliance for Sonoma County, led by the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC). Four of the five state parks slated for closure in Sonoma County are in or near the Sonoma Valley. They include Annadel State Park, Jack London State Historic Park, Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park and Sugarloaf. Efforts are now underway by members of the alliance to develop management plans for the other parks as well.
The SEC has already submitted a letter of interest to the state and, together with the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association, United Camps Conferences and Retreats, the Sonoma County Trails Council and the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association, is working for approval of a plan to manage and maintain the park, with the ultimate objective of re-opening camping and motorized access.
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