“The Chosen Spot as far as all of Nature was concerned”. – Famed Horticulturalist Luther Burbank describing Sonoma County
Sonoma County is an amazing place. Because of our coastal geography, varied topography, paleobotany, and microclimatic diversity Sonoma County comprises a nearly-complete matrix of Northern California habitat diversity. From chaparral, grassland, and forests, to wetlands, beach-dune and near-shore marine environments, Sonoma County has so much to explore, love, and treasure.
Sonoma County is home to over 2,200 species of plants, 20 of which are found nowhere but here. We are home to a variety of mammals including the elusive American Badger in our grasslands, Black Bear in our mountains, and Pacific Harbor Seals on our shores. Birds from the grand Great Blue Heron, White Pelicans, and Golden Eagles to the delicate Anna’s Hummingbird grace our skies.
Agriculture has also long been a defining characteristic of Sonoma County and also plays a significant role in the conservation and protection of our region’s biodiversity and natural habitat. The working landscape, and those who steward the land to sustain its productivity for future generations, implement innovative natural resource conservation best management practices, which support the protection of endangered species, enhance wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and soil health; a mosaic that drives the county’s renowned local food system.
In his breakthrough book Last Child in the Woods – Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder Richard Louv links the time young people spend in nature with a myriad of cognitive, physical, and social development benefits. He also points out, “Attachment to land is not only good for the child, it is good for the land, explaining that “if we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
We know as adults that time outside can greatly reduce stress levels. In Japan a practice called “Shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing” has gained popularity and is being prescribed by doctors. These are gentle, guided walks that support well-being through sensory immersion in forests and other naturally healing environments. Doctors in the United Sates are also beginning to understand the benefits of time outside and have combined forces with parks and open spaces in the breakthrough “park prescriptions movement.”
Here in Sonoma County, you are never more than a few minutes from a park or open space.
Sonoma County Regional Parks
The Sonoma Coast, the Russian River, the Sonoma Valley and other spectacular settings are yours to explore in the Regional Parks. Hike, camp, host a picnic, ride a bike, paddle a kayak, or simply take in the view. Whatever your idea of outdoor fun, you’re sure to find it in the Sonoma County Regional parks.
California State Parks in Sonoma County
Sonoma County is host to a number of beautiful and diverse State Parks. From the coast to the redwood forests, historic sites and preserves throughout the county, there is everything here for you to experience.
City of Santa Rosa Parks
Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks invites you to explore 950 acres of parks and community spaces! Picnic sites, playgrounds, trails, sport courts, athletic fields, dog parks, boating lakes, skate parks, amusement rides and a fly-casting pond are just a sampling of the assets you will find in your parks.
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
Since 1990, the District has protected nearly 20,000 acres of publicly accessible open space — adding significant acreage to Sonoma County’s network of City, Regional and State Parks. Enjoy a guided hike, paddle, educational tour, volunteer workday or community event on one of the lands you helped the District protect.