On the day Santa Rosa's beloved Annadel State Park was to close because of budget cuts, supporters instead threw a celebration breakfast Sunday in recognition of the local effort that will keep it open for at least another year.
A jubilant crowd of about 250 people chowed down on bacon and eggs alongside the lagoon at Spring Lake, where talk centered on partnerships and fund-raising that spared the park - for now.
"It's a vital community asset, not only because it's healthy but it brings people together," said Deborah Willner of Santa Rosa, who was eating at a table with a half-dozen other mountain bikers. "It's really important that we keep that."
Annadel had been one of 70 parks on a statewide closure list devised last year by officials in Sacramento as a way to close a multi-billion state budget shortfall. Sixteen of the parks scheduled to close Sunday were on the North Coast.
The pending loss of such cherished places galvanized Sonoma County's hikers, joggers, cyclists, equestrians and other park users who raised $200,000 to keep Annadel open.
In Petaluma, supporters raised $70,000 to run the Petaluma Adobe Historic Park that is a favorite for school field trips.
Other parks on the closure list included Sugarloaf Ridge State Park near Kenwood and Jack London State Historic Park near Glen Ellen. None closed because of similar fund-raising alliances that saved Annadel.
Annadel got another boost when the Sonoma Country Regional Parks Department agreed to assume responsibility for daily operations.
On Sunday, Caryl Hart, regional parks director, congratulated supporters gathered for breakfast, telling them their work was an exercise in love and community.
She said it makes sense for the community to take on Annadel, which borders the county's Spring Lake Park, because "plants, animals and even some humans" don't distinguish between the two.
"It's about time we start working together and stop thinking of these as separate things," Hart said.
Melissa Kelley, executive director of the Regional Parks Foundation, thanked groups ranging from cyclists to marathoners who raised money.
She accepted a poster-size check for $20,000 from organizers of the Annadel Half Marathon, who devoted entries fees to the park.
"We are at a wonderful place today," Kelley told the crowd. "And our work is not done."
In Petaluma, about 75 Adobe supporters turned out at the state and national landmark.
"There's a lot of enthusiasm here," said Danita Rodriguez, the region's acting superintendent of state parks.
Despite the upbeat mood, local support is only temporary. Donations only cover the next year and the continued lack of state money will no doubt threaten parks in the future.
More fund-raising groups will likely step forward, but there's also talk of a permanent solution, like a quarter-cent sales tax.
County supervisors this month are expected to be asked to approve a parks sales tax measure for the November ballot that could raise $15 million a year.
Many at the park Sunday said they would vote for it.
Santa Rosa resident Jeremy Fietz, who ate breakfast at the park Sunday with his wife Angelic and sons Gabriel, 7, and Caius, 5, said access to parks is increasingly important in a world where kids are bombarded with TV images and overloaded with homework.