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Sonoma County Gazette
Jenner Wildlands

Changes at the
Jenner Headlands Preserve

Mar 1, 2018
by Tim McKusick


The long-awaited parking lot at the Jenner Headlands Preserve is almost ready for its grand opening. Located 1.5 miles north of Jenner on Coast Highway One, volunteers are busy planting landscaping plants, while work crews put the finishing touches on the infra-structure.

The parking lot for the 5,630 acre preserve will have spaces to hold 30 cars and 2 school buses. It will also have a 400-foot view-trail for persons with disabilities and restroom facilities. It will be open (very soon) from dawn to dusk 7 days a week.

This incredible preserve connects to the 238 acre Pole Mountain Preserve (acquired in 2014), with hiking trails up the 2,204 foot Pole Mountain the highest vantage point on the North Coast. Together there will be 15 miles of improved trails for the public to enjoy.

One thing I would hope for: An emergency telephone in the new parking lot. With the 911 call boxes currently being decommissioned along Highway 1, and cell signals for private phones spotty at best, it would make sense (and could save lives) to have a Call Box available in the parking lot.

With the hills still green from the sparse winter rains, and orange California Poppies contrasted by purple Douglas Iris covering Coastal meadows and rocky outcroppings, it is the perfect time for a hike! We are fortunate indeed, to have these coastal ranches preserved for future generations; truly something to be proud of.

The Dogwood timber harvest plan has been delayed for the 6th time! Cal Fire has once again told the Gualala Redwood Timber Company to hold off on their plans to log in the wild and scenic Gualala River Floodplain. The delay is only until mid-march.

On July 1, 2016, CAL FIRE approved the five-mile long, 400+ acre “Dogwood” timber harvest plan (THP; logging permit) that lies entirely within the floodplain of the designated Wild and Scenic Gualala River.

Under current California forestry regulations, the floodplain (riparian) redwood forest is supposed to be protected against all logging disturbances like skid trails and haul roads used to move logs out, but CAL FIRE waived those protective rules when asked to grant a massive “exception” to the rules.

Unless the approval is challenged and stopped, Gualala Redwoods Timber will proceed to cut 90-100-year-old redwoods and build roads through floodplain wetlands and rare plants and in over five miles of floodplains – sensitive habitats and resources that were not even been surveyed in advance of the approval.

This sixth ‘stay of execution’ is still only temporary. Please support the Friends of the Gualala River, our local Environmental Heroes! Please help preserve this embattled river valley from the short-sighted persistent efforts of those trading our children’s futures for a quick buck.

Between the watershed resources at the headwaters being diverted for grape irrigation and the sensitive floodplains being actively approved for logging, this embattled coastal river habitat is under assault. The truth is that the eco-system balance is hanging by a thread. We would be well advised to perhaps just back off and allow it to heal.

I think the new ‘speed indicator’ signs in Jenner are making a difference in the safety and well-being of all who enjoy this little coastal town. A long time coming.

Please shop locally at one of the great shops here in West County. The newly redone Jenner Wine and Gift shop now has a great deck over the river to enjoy a glass of wine. Not to be missed. Of course Café Aquatica next door is well known for its riverside lounging areas. So close, but a world away.

Jenner Jottings by Tim McKusick


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