Author MARY CALLAHAN
Pieced together through $23 million in taxpayer-funded acquisitions over more than a decade, the Mark West Regional Park and Open Space Preserve will open for once-a-month “park preview days” while the county conducts a multi-year environmental review and master planning for permanent operations.
The property is now officially public parkland after its transfer from the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District last month, making it the third-largest property in the regional park system next to Tolay Lake and Hood Mountain.
“This is going to be one of the jewels of the system, for sure,” said Bill Keene, general manager of the Open Space District.
Purchased in six different chunks from three families, the new park puts hundreds of acres of wilderness within minutes of urban communities while preserving critical watersheds and wildlife habitat, officials said.