Golis: Hometown progress on parks

  • 10/15/2013: A7:

    PC: Kelly Brunsmann, left, and Travis Sullivan enjoy the Occidental Road Property along the Laguna de Santa Rosa on Monday, October 14, 2013. The approximately 16-acre property, currently owned by Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, is one of several properties that could be opened to the public and improved with paved parking and other facilities under a transfer to Sonoma County Regional Parks. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

With Congress steering the country and the world economy to the brink of calamity, the past week won't be remembered for its feel-good stories about government.

This was the week that friends joked about burying their money in the backyard. (At least I think they were joking.)

So much for a national government that preaches to other countries about financial responsibility and political accountability.

Before you pull the covers over your head and assume the fetal position, however, let me report that I found a feel-good story about government last week.

It's a story that begins with one place's unique commitment to protecting open space, ridge tops, farm land and natural resources. It's also the story of the same community's determination to use some of that protected land for public parks and for programs that encourage more people to learn the pleasures derived from time spent in the out-of-doors.

Many of you will recognize the place you live — Sonoma County, California.

After 23 years, you probably take the success of the county's open space efforts for granted. You shouldn't. What happens here happens almost nowhere else.

If you appreciate the natural beauty of the place you live, if you're glad that one city doesn't sprawl into the next, you should be proud of what has been accomplished — and what will be accomplished in the future.

The latest chapter of this feel-good story emerged last week as the Board of Supervisors was adopting recommendations to jump-start the opening of public parks on public land.

Over the next 18 years, Staff Writer Brett Wilkison reported, the new policy will make available $42 million to provide the trails, parking lots, restrooms and other improvements necessary for public access to these properties.

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