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Laguna trail in final stretch

  • Sara Press, associate open space planer, stands in a field where the county open space district will be building more then 2 miles of additional trails along the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

A long-delayed plan to build 2.4 miles of new trail along the eastern side of the scenic Laguna de Santa Rosa could kick into gear next month.

Sonoma County officials have been working for months to secure about 10 permits needed for the project. Now only one, from the Department of Fish and Game, is still up in the air and the county hopes to hear on Monday.

Assuming the go-ahead is given, construction is to begin the second week in September and be completed by mid- to late-October, before the rainy season. Any delay could postpone development of the route until next spring.

Officials with the county's Agricultural and Open Space District, which is overseeing the project, said they're optimistic about getting the green light.

"We're almost there. We're in the final stretch," said Maria Cipriani, the district assistant general manager.

In addition to obtaining the permits, the county has had to purchase nearly $200,000 in mitigation credits to compensate for the loss of about 1.5 acres of wetlands and tiger salamander habitat that the trails will cross.

The plan calls for a 1.8-mile multiple-use trail made of decomposed granite along the western edge of Santa Rosa's Kelly Farm from Occidental Road to Highway 12.

Another .6-mile pedestrian-only unpaved path will continue into the floodplain and run along the Laguna proper. Flooding will close the path during the rainy season.

Two parking areas are planned, one off Highway 12 near the Chevron gas station and the other off Occidental Road.

Currently, public access to waterway is limited. Sebastopol's Laguna Wetland Preserve, reached from the city community center, has the only public trail network on the 14-mile wetland-complex.


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