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Measure J Protects Sonoma County Parks For Everyone

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Measure J Protects Sonoma County Parks For Everyone

By Caryl Hart

It’s easy to focus on national issues in the midst of an important presidential election, but it’s also important to focus on the critical issues that impact us right here at home in Sonoma County. Measure J, which will help protect our Sonoma County Regional Parks, is at the end of your ballot, but it should be a top priority. 

Tall Ship in Bodega HarborThis November, voters have an opportunity to protect the natural beauty and environment of Sonoma County, not only for themselves, but also for future generations. 

Measure J has something for everyone, encompassing trails for walking, hiking, biking and horseback riding, parks for children and seniors alike, water and wildlife and fish habitat all across the county.

Few things are more important than clean drinking water. Measure J will keep drinking water clean for all by protecting local rivers, creeks and streams in Sonoma County’s parkland, including along the Russian River. By reducing runoff and increasing natural resource restoration and protection, the measure will help prevent harmful contaminants from entering our local waterways. 

Measure J is also about maintaining and expanding local trails. It will protect and lengthen the region’s unique trails, from the California Coastal trail, to Helen Putnam and Riverfront Regional Parks to Hood Mountain, ideal for camping or simply enjoying nature. The measure will also help to complete planned multi-use trail networks that connect Sonoma County towns, perfect for leisurely bike rides and walks.

Doran BeachSonoma County’s regional parks protect the health and safety of their local communities, and so does Measure J. Parks offer children, teens, families and seniors safe places to gather, play and explore the outdoors. By maintaining, improving and ensuring access to these havens for walking, hiking, running and bike riding close to home, Measure J helps to improve the community’s health, reduce obesity and lower health care costs. 

Sonoma County’s Open Space and Ag Preservation District has purchased thousands of acres of parkland that are not yet open to the public. Measure J would change this by allowing open space land to be transferred to Sonoma County Regional Parks to create hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and campgrounds for residents to visit and enjoy. It will also insure that key coastal parks currently managed by California State Parks, including Bodega Head, remain free to the public.

Funds from Measure J, which expires in 10 years, will be spent responsibly. All of the funds are dedicated to Sonoma County Regional Parks and must be used for parks maintenance and improvements only. The State can’t touch a penny. Independent citizen oversight and annual audits will make sure every cent is used for voter-approved purposes.

Measure J is a detailed plan to protect natural beauty and recreational opportunities in Sonoma County – expanding, maintaining and improving parks and trails now and for the future; preserving fish and wildlife habitat; and protecting local water quality and drinking water sources. To learn more about Measure J, find out about park improvement projects in your area or to get involved in the campaign, please visit YesforSonomaCountyParks.org.

This crucial measure will preserve the beautiful parks Sonoma County residents cherish for generations to come.