A large Sonoma Coast ranch property with sweeping views and ecological and historical significance has been transferred to Sonoma County Regional Parks with plans to ultimately open it to the public as a regional park and open space preserve.
Ownership of the 335-acre Carrington Coast Ranch north of Bodega Bay near Salmon Creek was conveyed to the county agency Wednesday, Jan. 30, by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.
The site is primarily coastal grasslands, and features views of the ocean and Bodega Bay, cypress trees, historic buildings, Salmon Creek, coastal hills and coastal prairie.
“Carrington Coast Ranch hosts a diversity of natural habitats, including coastal prairie, coastal scrub, freshwater and saltwater wetlands, and tidal marsh. Several special-status species, such as the Townsend big-eared bat, California red-legged frog and American badger have been identified on the property,” county officials said in an announcement.
Buildings on the former dairy ranch include a homestead built before 1860 and considered to be one of the oldest buildings in Sonoma County.
The district had purchased the property in 2003 for $4.8 million, originally with plans to transfer it to California State Parks, but that plan was never realized due to the state agency’s budget and staff constraints.
“This project has been a long time in the making, so it is extraordinary to see the vision become reality and soon our community will be able to enjoy the rolling grasslands and beautiful vistas that make this property such a gem,” said Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor and Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District Director Lynda Hopkins. “The conservation of our working and natural lands, including this new park and preserve, provides so many benefits to Sonoma County’s diverse communities. These include addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, offering a place for all people to enjoy nature and showcasing stunning scenic landscapes that define our region.”
Sonoma Regional Parks is developing a master plan to guide development of trails, recreational and educational uses, and stewardship of natural resources, with public outreach for the planning process set to begin next summer.
Opportunities for the public to periodically access the park and preserve will be developed in the interim.
“Full of local history and ecological significance, this striking property, with its sweeping views from Jenner to Salmon Creek, Bodega Dunes, and Bodega Head showcases the southern Sonoma Coast. The gentle coastal terrace will offer accessible trails and diverse nature experiences for residents and visitors,” said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker. “We look forward to working with the community and our partners to steward the land and provide new opportunities for people to discover the magic of our coast.”