Jennielynn Holmes, 31, Santa Rosa Director of shelter and housing for Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa
Holmes, who works long days finding shelter for local homeless residents, seeks rejuvenation in several of Sonoma County’s parks, often in the company of her husband, Darren, a regional park ranger. “It’s my self-care,” said Holmes, whose two favorites are Stillwater Cove and Sonoma Valley regional parks. “When I’m in my times of high stress and kind of need to revitalize, it’s the ocean and hiking that does that, and Stillwater Cove is a combination of both of those.” A ridge in the Sonoma Valley park offers views of the Mayacmas range and San Pablo Bay. “I feel like I’m entering a different part of the world, and I love that,” Holmes said.
Lorez Bailey, 49, Rohnert Park Executive director of Chops Teen Club
A longtime Sonoma County resident and mother of three mostly grown children, Bailey says Doran Beach would have been her “go-to” park no matter what. But it holds particular meaning for the new Chops director, thanks to an experience a few summers back when she was serving with Social Advocates for Youth and led a Youth Ecology Corps work crew assigned to the beach for a week or so. Many of the kids were disadvantaged and had not been exposed to the spectacular coastline that draws upwards of a million visitors each year. So it was uniquely gratifying to see them experience the park and take part in maintaining and beautifying the grounds. “That was a special memory for me,” she said.
Jill Ravitch, 59, Sebastopol Sonoma County district attorney
Sebastopol’s Ragle Ranch Regional Park is “a beautiful little gem,” says Ravitch, the county’s top prosecutor. Ravitch, who enjoys walking her rescue pups, Hope and Sparky, on the 3½ miles of shaded trail that criss-crosses Atascadero Creek, says Ragle has “the best dog park in the whole county” — it even has “small dog” time for an hour each day. “I love to go in the early mornings, when nobody’s out,” she said. “Sometimes there’s fog on the surrounding hills. It’s just lovely.”
Jake Bilbro, 40, Healdsburg Owner and winemaker at Limerick Lane Cellars
An avid mountain biker who met and courted his wife, Alexis, at Trione-Annadel State Park, Bilbro and his brood — four kids, ages 5 to 18 — are an outdoorsy group. They like Shiloh Ranch and Foothill Regional Park. But Riverfront Regional Park is a convenient pedal from home, making it a choice spot for picnics, birthday parties, hikes and runs. The Redwood Hill Trail offers elevation changes and varied scenery that’s just right for young children just starting out. “It’s a great hiking trail,” Bilbro said. “Within a 20- or 30-minute hike you can go from redwoods to oak woodlands, shade to sunshine.”
Carol Eber, 71, Petaluma Chairwoman of the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation
Eber joined the foundation board in part to ensure the south county was represented, and so she could take part in development of the future Mark West Regional Park, named after her great-great-grandfather. She frequents Helen Putnam park in Petaluma. But she deeply loves the coastal parks — Stillwater Cove, Doran Beach and Gualala Point, where she built memories camping with her now-grown son, exploring the redwoods, the river and coast. Gualala and Doran are probably tops “because we’ve just had more family outings at those parks, you know, camping and birthday parties and things like that,” Eber said. “Those are always special memories.”
Special coverage: Sonoma County Regional Parks