Public open space outside Santa Rosa grows

October 29, 2015

Posted in: News Articles

Public open space outside Santa Rosa grows with deal for Mark West Creek land

Generations of kids and other nature lovers will continue to enjoy outdoor experiences at a Mark West Creek ranch northeast of Santa Rosa under a new conservation deal that maintains public access to the property in perpetuity.

More broadly, open space advocates say preservation of the 124-acre Rancho Mark West builds upon a legacy of protecting land from development in the sensitive environmental area while offering the public more opportunities to engage with nature a short distance away from Santa Rosa.

“We hope to be able to walk people from Santa Rosa to Rancho Mark West to spend the night. That would be a pretty incredible opportunity,” said Craig Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit group LandPaths.

LandPaths will continue to operate In Our Own Backyard, Owl Camp and other popular outdoor programs for kids at the St. Helena Road ranch under an updated conservation easement that protects public access to the site.

Jim and Betty Doerksen originally sold the development rights to the property to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District in 1993. Under the terms of the new deal, the district is paying off a $250,000 loan the couple made to LandPaths when it agreed to purchase the property in 2012 for $1 million.

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