Five nonprofit partners known as 'Team Sugarloaf' announced May 22 that Sugarloaf Ridge State Park will fully re-open on Jiune 1, in time for the summer vacation and camping season. Sonoma Ecology Center as lead partner signed an agreement on May 21 with the State of California to operate the park and was awarded a grant of $54,000 by the California State Parks Foundation to cover part of the start-up costs associated with running Sugarloaf.
Sugarloaf Ridge has long been considered a local treasure, as it has the only public camground in Sonoma Valley, as well as the Robert Ferguson Observatory, one of the largest amateur observatories in the United States. With over 20 miles of hiking trails, Sugarloaf offers numerous opportunities for family activities, with streamside forests and spectacular views of the entire region. It is also the headwaters for several imporant North Bay streams, and home to over 40 rare plants and animals.
The park operations model represents a unique partnership of five non-profit organizations that have worked tirelessly to keep the park open. The partners include Sonoma Ecology Center; Valley of the Moon Observatory Association; United Camps, Conferences and Retreats; Valley of the Moon Natural History Association; and Sonoma County Trails Council. With expertise in campground operations, ecological restoration, education, astronomy, trails management and volunteer recruitment and training, Team Sugarloaf expects to leverage the park's abundant assets and create new opportunities for Sugarloaf Ridge and its visitors.
'We are delighted at the opportunity to help keep this remarkable park open and grateful for this grant,' said Sonoma Ecology Center Executive Director Richard Dale. 'The efforts and commitment of Team Sugarloaf during the past year underscore what a team of groups and individuals working toward a common goal can accomplish. State Parks has also been a partner, helping us as they faced thir own significant challenges along the way. The effort highlights the strength of a state-local partnership and how far it can go toward making our public parks more sustainable in an era of financial cutbacks.'
'With financial support from the California State Parks Foundations and the community, and in-kind support from California State Parks and our many volunteers, we can now bring all public services back to Sugarloaf and create a reliable revenue stream to assure it stays open into the future.'
Team Sugarloaf iurges locals and visitors to come up and re-acquaint themselves with this magnificent park.
Information on Sugarloaf Ridge and its many offerings can be found at: