Bay Nature magazineJuly-September 2011


Private Land, Public Access in Sonoma County

July 1, 2011

A bit over six miles inland and south of Jenner, the 832-acre Bohemia Ranch has been eyed as a potential public park since the 1990s. One of the main attractions is the lovely waterfall on Duvoul Creek, a tributary of Dutch Bill Creek, which in turn flows into the Russian River. A large swath of serpentine soils that cuts through the property supports many native wildflowers, including several endemics. A study on one 10-by-10 meter serpentine area revealed 51 different taxa of native plants. While portions of the property have been protected from development with conservation easements held by Sonoma Land Trust, the property has remained in private hands due to a lack of public funding.

But as this issue goes to press, the current and future private owners are working out the details of an alternative approach to managing the property, and both have pledged funds for stewardship and public access. The new owners plan on providing public access managed by LandPaths, a Santa Rosa-based nonprofit dedicated to connecting people to the land in Sonoma County.

“Bohemia Ranch is an incredible story,” says Craig Anderson, executive director of LandPaths. “Two families are willing to create something for the public benefit, providing public access to private land.”

About the Author

Writer Aleta George trained as a Jepson Prairie docent in 2009. In addition to writing Bay Nature's Ear to the Ground column, she has written for Smithsonian, High Country News, and the Los Angeles Times.