Grant puts county closer to opening park and preserve

A grant awarded to Sonoma County by the state Department of Parks and Recreation puts the 1,100-acre Mark West Creek Regional Park and Open Space Preserve a step closer to opening.

The proposed park and preserve, off Porter Creek Road, features a mix of grasslands, oak woodlands and creeks that are home to steelhead trout and coho salmon. About 20 miles of road and trail already wind through the land, located about 15 minutes northeast of Santa Rosa.

The $212,682 state grant, which must get final approval from the Federal Highway Administration, is one of many awarded in recent years to purchase the parcels that will comprise the park.

The state grant will help purchase the final piece of land, which could cost about $7 million.

Once all the land has been purchased, it could still take about three years before the park is opened to the public, said Elizabeth Tyree, an analyst for the regional parks department.

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