Visitors to Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa no longer encounter a closed gate greeting them at the park's entrance and main parking lot.

The Channel Drive gate now is open seven days a week during park operating hours, allowing people to access the Warren-Richardson parking lot.

The change went into effect on Friday.

The gate had been closed several days a week in the fall and winter due to budget cuts and construction work on Channel Drive, which has been completed.

Sonoma County Regional Parks is providing the staff to open the gates at sunrise, said Bert Whitaker, the county's parks manager.

He said equestrians will especially appreciate the change because the Warren-Richardson lot relieves them of having to park about a quarter-mile away to access the park.

Officials also are hoping to capture more revenue as a result of people paying $6 to park at the lot.

Currently, many park users avoid that fee by parking along Channel Drive and walking or biking in.

Sonoma County parks officials are negotiating with the state to operate Annadel to prevent the park from being closed this summer when dozens of state parks could shutter as a cost-savings measure.

As part of its proposal, the county plans to install a day-use parking area on Channel Drive.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or