Come next year, the highest peak on Sonoma County’s coast will be open to hikers, offering the public a spectacular new outdoor destination with incomparable views, officials said Tuesday.
The protected 238-acre property that includes 2,204-foot Pole Mountain north of Jenner is on track to be fully open by fall 2017, along with the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands preserve to the south, according to conservation officials.
Upon completion of a parking lot at the southern end of Jenner Headlands, expected by November 2017, the two properties will offer a 15-mile loop on new hiking trails and 360-degree views of Sonoma County and beyond.
The properties include coastal grasslands, wetlands and streams, as well as redwood and Douglas fir forests. Together, they serve as critical wildlife habitat for fish, birds and more.
“This is probably one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen,” said Supervisor Efren Carrillo, the board chairman.
Supervisors on Tuesday allocated $46,500 from the county Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District for the nonprofit Sonoma Land Trust to begin installing new amenities, including a gate at the entrance to Jenner Headlands, new signs and picnic tables.
“This is an iconic property that will be a stunning recreational destination with enormous hiking opportunities,” said Shanti Edwards, a stewardship project manager for Sonoma Land Trust. “We’re assembling the Point Reyes of Sonoma County.”
Until the peak’s full public opening, the nonprofit will offer two guided hikes on the Pole Mountain property this year and two next spring, Edwards said.
Sonoma Land Trust paid $2.35 million in 2014 to purchase the Pole Mountain property from the family of Paul Elliott, a former telecom executive and philanthropist.
The funding included $1 million from the Open Space District, $650,000 from the California Wildlife Conservation Board, $350,000 from the California State Coastal Conservancy and $350,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The acquisition was a key goal of conservationists following the landmark $36 million deal in 2009 to set aside the Jenner Headlands.
Supervisors on Tuesday voiced support for fast-tracking public access to the open space next year.
“It’s a spectacular asset,” said Supervisor Shirlee Zane. “I’m really excited to get people on that property.”
You can reach Staff Writer Angela Hart at 707-26-8503 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @ahartreports.