The Sonoma Developmental Center, located in the unincorporated area of Sonoma County, CA known as Eldridge, is set to close by the end of 2018. Its 860 acres are comprised of redwood forests, oak woodlands, grasslands, mixed evergreen forests, riparian woodlands, and wetlands in addition to a roughly 150 acre campus with 140 plus buildings in various conditions. Scores of Sonoma Valley residents enjoy recreating there on a daily basis, and the property as a whole serves as a pinch point in the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor, allowing wildlife to move between Sonoma Mountain and the Mayacamas range, and between coastal and interior areas. The site is surrounded by about 12,000 acres of protected lands, including state and county parks, private property with permanent conservation easements and private preserves. To date, the state of California has no plans to sell the property, and officials support the concept of a community-driven transition process. With your help, the SDC's open spaces can be protected from development, and the wildlife corridor can be enhanced.
As politicians sort out the details and special interest groups draw up development proposals, residents of Glen Ellen and the greater Sonoma Valley are feeling anxious about the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center property. Not everyone can attend meetings or serve on committees, but one thing people in this community know how to do is raise money for causes they champion. Many Sonoma Valley residents and nature lovers from near and far want the open areas of the property to remain permanently open to all. It’s a desirable outcome we can wrap our heads around, while other more complicated issues, such as housing, traffic, commercial use, and tourism, remain polarizing. If we want to keep these lands open for all, let's all pitch in and do something to further this goal.
It's time to get creative and take the SOS challenge!