The Wine Country Online

LandPaths is a Sonoma County nonprofit organization that was established in 1996 to encourage responsible land stewardship by connecting people to the land. We join with public agencies, individuals, and community and school groups to increase public access on open spaces. These lands are stewarded by these same partners via community-powered restoration work and mounted patrols. Imagine for a moment, if you will, a landscape the same size as Sonoma County and as ecologically diverse  . . . from the vast tracts of coniferous forest in the northwest near the Gualala River basin to the oak savannah of the Sonoma/Napa ridge to the Russian River valley with its floodplains and tributary streams.

The McCormick Sanctuary east of Santa Rosa
Photo: LandPaths
That's a vast area . . . now imagine that 96% of this landscape is privately owned   and virtually without access to passive use (hiking, picnicing, biking, equestrian use). Unfortunately, this isn't an imaginary exercise . . . this is a simple matter of fact in Sonoma County. Not to paint a gloomy picture, however, as there is some room for optimism here! As fundamental as the fact that us human creatures need to be outdoors and enjoy the natural landscape is the reality that people care about this seeming inequity and are endeavoring to work towards change. We are absolutely blessed in Sonoma County to have the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District . . . a public agency that purchases land for preservation for agricultural and resource values. A creek used by spawning steelhead, an apple orchard, a tract of ancient redwoods . . . all have been preserved through the work of the Open Space District.

LandPaths is fortunate to work with the Open Space District and a number of its partnering landowners in order to provide access to these lands. We hike, bike, roll our wheelchairs, paddle kayaks and ride horses on our outings. You can inquire about these public outings by calling 524-9318. In hopes that we have the chance to share a picnic with you out on the land soon.

Craig Anderson
Executive Director