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Jenner Jottings - Tim McKusick - April 2015


Jenner Jottings - Tim McKusick - April 2015

Lots of Community related news: Our Sonoma Coast Surfriders is stepping up its efforts to keep our coast free of any new “pay to park Iron Rangers” that the State Park System has proposed be installed on some of our currently Free Beaches. Please visit Sonoma Coast Surfriders website and sign their petition. 

Currently Russian Gulch State Park has its parking lot gates locked tight, as it has for some time now. But this does not stop people from simply parking outside the gates and walking in. On a recent holiday weekend we counted over 30 cars parked up and down Highway One as the public enjoyed this wonderful sandy beach. 

The pit toilets inside the locked parking lot were locked up as well, forcing beach-goers to break the law and probably several health and safety codes when “nature calls”. The only place to do this is in the willows and bushes by the stream, obviously. 

Russian Gulch stream is a historic Coho bearing waterway that is being restored and repaired upstream in efforts to make it once more compatible to supporting this near-extinct species. The lower reach, where it winds through the beach deserves the same respect and restorative treatment. We need to have those pit toilets and the gates to this popular beach opened and admission free. Surely we can find the funds for a park aide to open the gates in the morning. I propose we levy another ¼ cent sales tax for the singular purpose of keeping these beaches Iron Ranger-Free while covering the costs of cleaning and maintenance. It will be a painless way of showing the world visitors who may come here once in a lifetime that we take pride in sharing this natural treasure.  

There is a growing opposition by residents of West – Coastal Sonoma County to the “industrialization” of our coast and rural neighborhoods. Residents are urging the Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) to deny Ft. Ross Vineyards application to build a winery on Meyers Grade Road where they currently have a permitted tasting room. There will be a Forum at the Jenner Community Center on April 11, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. featuring speaker Dr. Shepard Bliss to discuss what is seen by some as the intrusion of inappropriate industrialization of our county.

Sonoma County Regional Parks hosted a Timber Cove Coastal Trail Feasibility Study community meeting at the Ft. Ross School on Saturday March 21. The section of the California Coastal Trail which will connect Ft. Ross State Park and the Ocean Cove areas was the focus of this informational meeting. Regional Parks Manager Steve Ehret explained that this feasibility study was paid for through a grant, and that funds to pay for the actual construction were not available at this time. When completed, the trail will provide bicycle and pedestrian traffic a safe and scenic way to experience the California Coastline. 

A notable day in the history of the Timber Cove Homes Association, a coastal HOA since the early 1960s. Unit One, the earlier original subdivision of 48 properties (Unit Two came a couple years later comprised of about 200 lots) has voted to remove themselves from the control of the HOA. An overjoyed Unit One Timber Cove property owner was heard to exclaim that “his property value just went up!” Maybe so…Fact of the matter is, Unit One property owners still have to meet the County and Coastal Commission standards anyway, so the extra layer of local control (HOA) was redundant.

Whales are breaching just offshore; Ospreys and hawks fill the air. Wildflowers are blooming. The grape vines are coming alive throughout this beautiful region we get to call home. 

A sobering note to this first column of Spring: The Russian River, after a period of good flow at the mouth, has seemingly stopped flowing. It was as if someone upstream just turned off the spigot – I guess that is exactly what happened at Lake Mendocino. The ribbon of water that we rely on for so much of the bounty and beauty we happily enjoy is a mere riffle at the Hacienda Bridge, this first week of Spring. Let us pray.