The City has established a goal of improving public access to the Russian River as it passes through Healdsburg by enhancing existing access points and evaluating options for creating new access points. The design team divided the portion of the Russian River that interfaces with the City of Healdsburg into four reaches. This planning process is being closely coordinated with Sonoma County Regional Parks as they develop a master plan for Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach and study ways to improve the river as it passes by Memorial Beach.
City of Healdsburg's Planning Efforts (Reaches #3 and #4)
#3 Badger Park Reach — Improvements to the Badger Park Reach are proposed to include upgrades to the informal trail system to make the trail more sustainable long-term, provide access to Willow Island at Badger Park, consider overlooks downstream, and evaluate the feasibility of a possible kayak put-in. Longer-term plans could include a Riverwalk Trail connecting west to downtown to Badger Park.
#4 Syar Gravel Bar Reach — The Syar Gravel Bar Reach is private property owned by Syar Industries. While the City isn't proposing to formalize river access to the gravel bar at this time, we know it is a popular use area for the community. At some point in the future Syar industries could choose to protect their private property rights and restrict access to their property. With this in mind, we do have a placeholder in the planning process noting that at some point in the future there may be an interest to work with Syar Industries to determine the feasibility of acquiring public access to their property. This is not a current effort.
Sonoma County Regional Parks Planning Efforts (Reaches #1 and #2)
The seasonal dam creates environmental and operational challenges for Regional Parks, so they are studying alternative approaches to providing enhanced recreational access to the river while improving water quality and fish habitat. Regional Parks is in the very early stages of studying a concept that would create a river park element with pools and falls, similar to what can be found in places like Bend Oregon, Boulder Colorado, and Reno Nevada. Regional Parks will be launching their community engagement process later this summer to receive public feedback on this idea.