This year, Napa and Solano counties are moving forward on initiatives to bolster parks and open space. As a longstanding advocate for open space and smart growth in Napa and Solano, Greenbelt is supporting these exciting new land protection plans.
IN NAPA COUNTY
The County is laying the groundwork for a quarter-cent sales tax measure for this year’s general election that, if passed, would generate about $8 million a year for protecting more open space lands and operating parks. County supervisors voted unanimously to move forward on developing the sales tax ballot measure late last year. Their decision was supported by a recent poll conducted by the Land Trust of Napa County, which found that 73% of county voters surveyed would vote yes on the open space funding measure.
The sales tax revenues would allow the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District to acquire and increase public access to lands and trails that stretch far beyond its famous vineyards and wineries. These wild and rugged places include Lake Hennessy, where bald eagles nest; the historic Oat Hill Mine Trail; and Cedar Roughs above Lake Berryessa. Open space advocates also want the County to use the revenue to expedite the long-overdue purchase of Skyline Wilderness Park for fear the State may sell it for use as a rock quarry.
In early January, Solano County supervisors voted to move forward on a new regional parks and open space district to oversee and eventually add to existing parks and protected lands.
A poll conducted for the county last year found that 78% of Solano voters surveyed like the idea of a regional parks and open space system. However, less than half supported a sales tax or other funding mechanism to support such an effort. So as a first step, the County will begin work on setting up a parks district with existing resources and doing public outreach over the next two years.
While Solano County and its partners—including the Solano Land Trust—have protected significant natural and agricultural lands for the benefit of county residents, visitors, and the entire Bay Area, it remains the only Bay Area county without a parks or open space district. A new parks assessment presented to the county supervisors identified as many as 14,000 acres of county parks and open space lands that could form the basis of the new parks and open space entity. These include Lake Solano, Lynch Canyon, and the new Rockville Trails Preserve.
Photo: via Flickr