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Riverkeeper Stewardship Park in Guerneville OPENS October 18

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Riverkeeper Stewardship Park
in Guerneville OPENS October 18

What you will see on October 18th where there was massive trash in 2005

Join us on Saturday, October 18th from 2-4 p.m. in Guerneville for our Open House to publicly unveil the Park project! Come and see what over 1000 volunteers have been working for on the last nine years to help educate local students and the public about the river and how to care for it.

In 2005 when Riverkeeper took donation of the 5-acre property between the bridges in Guerneville, it was known in town as Liquor Store Beach. The property served as a town dumpsite, homeless encampment and was generally a place where bad things happened.The property was formerly known as Nettinger’s Resort and had cabins and tent houses for rent each summer and was abandoned after the 1955 flood.

By the time Riverkeeper accepted the property as a donation from the family of Bertram Horn in 2005, it was overgrown with mostly non-native invasive plants and was a nuisance to the Russian River. At first it was hard to see anything positive coming from this property with all the visible problems - it seemed daunting to even figure out where to start!

2005 Homeless encampment trash heapsOn October 2nd, 2005 with almost every employee from Marmot on hand we began removing the accumulated trash and invasive blackberry that covered the entire property. At the end of that first volunteer workday with Marmot in 2005, we could finally see the potential of the property as some of the trash and blackberry were cleared out.

What we found when we took donation of property in 2005…trash and a big mess.

A number of other cleanups occurred the following spring and in 2007 Riverkeeper was introduced to noted native plant landscape architect Ron Lutsko, who had recently helped re-design Strybing Arboretum at Golden Gate Park. Riverkeeper staff and Lutsko collaborated to create a park concept based on education and stewardship of the Russian River and its natural habitat. The plans called for multiple outdoor classroom areas that used features of the park or River to illustrate educational or stewardship information for visitors and local elementary students.

The former Russian River Redevelopment, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ernie Carpenter Fund of the Community Foundation of Sonoma County were the first project funders and helped get the project off the ground. Later the California Department of Resources added substantial funding from their River Parkway Grant Program as did the Sonoma County Ag Preservation and Open Space District, who also has a permanent conservation easement over the property. 

Our plans for the portion of park seen above….

Our plans for the portion of park seen above….

The completed park will feature interpretive areas with information on issues such as polluted urban runoff and how bioswales in our landscaping can help to clean it up. Other areas will cover what else the river carries besides water, how flooding helps our community and all the things we can do to help the Russian River and our community at the same time. We are still working hard on park construction and expect to have over 85% of the park elements completed prior to the Open House.

The Open House will feature the Park, local music by the Bad Apple String Band, and refreshments by Vintage Valley Catering. Many of the volunteers, contractors and supporters who helped make it a reality will be there as well. At 3 p.m., Riverkeeper Don McEnhill will be introducing the parks features.

Riverkeeper Stewardship Park is next to the foot of the Guerneville pedestrian bridge and stretches along the banks upriver past the Hwy 116 Bridge. Parking is available via the county lot next to pedestrian bridge or on Main Street in town and we’ll have signs directing you to the park from the street. If you are interested in sponsoring the event and supporting the Park – click over to Riverkeeper website!

If you want to be a SPONSOR - clik here!

Hope to see you at Riverkeeper Park on October 18th