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Supervisors approve Taylor Mountain park plan

  • Sara Press, associate open space planner at Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, and Mark Cleveland, senior park planner at Sonoma County Regional Parks, at Taylor Mountain on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD)

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan meant to guide the future look and feel of a regional park on Taylor Mountain overlooking Santa Rosa.

The blueprint for the 1,100-acre property includes 17 miles of trail for use by hikers, equestrians and cyclists, camping and picnic sites, five trailheads with restrooms and future plans for a visitor center, small event venue and an eight-room inn, given interest from a private partner.

Park development is to be on the periphery, which stretches from Petaluma Hill Road to Bennett Valley. The core of the preserve is to be kept wild.

General public access could begin as soon as late January from an existing trailhead off Kawana Terrace. Construction on the first phase of improvements is set to begin next year.

The park has been on the drawing board for years, and supervisors hailed Tuesday's vote as a major step in its realization. Several boardmembers called it one of the "crown jewels" in the county's park system.

"These things happen over many, many years and there's a lot of people responsible for that," said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who represents most of the park area.

The heart of the property includes the family spread of John Shackelford Taylor, a Gold Rush pioneer, resort owner and local entrepreneur.

The county Open Space District purchased most of the acreage in separate parcels between 1995 and 2005 for $21 million. A final five-acre frontage parcel was donated in 2011 by the late Santa Rosa physician Gertrude Van Steyn.

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@pressdemocrat.com.

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