Healdsburg Ridge transfers to City of Healdsburg

September 27, 2019

Posted in: News Articles

Healdsburg Ridge, protected + public forever

In 2003, Ag + Open Space acquired two properties for $7.6M along a prominent ridgeline on the northeastern side of Healdsburg to create the 153-acre Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve. 

Since 2008, we’ve redesigned and constructed nearly 3.5 miles of public trails, while working with partners at the City of Healdsburg and LandPaths to create a long-term plan for the preserve’s future. We’ve also developed a trailhead, vista points, trail maps, and installed accessible bridges and overlooks.

The preserve encompasses the headwaters of two drainages to the Russian River—Norton Slough and a direct tributary that joins the river near the dramatic curve called River’s Bend. Scenic vistas from the preserve provide glimpses of the Russian River, the Mayacamas, and the hills of Lake Sonoma. The preserve includes rolling hills and a long ridge supporting grasslands, oak woodlands, mixed forests, riparian scrub, and serpentine chaparral, and a variety of wildlife, from aquatic amphibians to larger carnivores. 

The Preserve is near several other protected and public lands including Fitch Mountain and several easement properties. Combined, these protected properties provide a cluster of undeveloped lands that are vital to maintaining plant and wildlife diversity and migration corridors in the uplands of the Russian River Valley. Protected lands like Healdsburg Ridge serve as greenbelts along the edge of urban development. Greenbelts have benefits beyond maintaining the unique characters of Sonoma County’s cities and towns – agriculture, watersheds, woodlands, and much more benefit from protecting the land around our urban cores. 

Ag + Open Space transferred the preserve to the City of Healdsburg in 2019. As part of the transfer, we retain a conservation easement that will protect a diversity of habitats, and a recreation covenant to ensure the preserve remains open to the public, forever!