The Sonoma Overlook Trail is closed for a re-reroute and rehab project. The American Conservation Experience, or ACE, has been contracted by the Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards, Sonoma Ecology Center, and the city, for a considerable cost of volunteer-raised funds, in an effort to make the trail more sustainable. It’s important for the public to honor and cooperate with the trail closure for a number of good reasons.
One, the trail work has been done during the dry season. Use of the trail before rain and plant growth can season and cure the trail work, will damage and destroy the trail work. If the trail is used before curing, loose soil along the outside edges of the trail, and on vulnerable switchbacks, will be kicked downhill and the intended trail grades lost.
Two, at considerable effort to gain a final grade, the trail will be watered and compacted with a mechanical compactor. Should the compacted trail tread be disturbed before the rainy season starts, which will further solidify the trail, all the hard work to shape the trail will be lost.
For reasons one and two here, the public will be damaging the trail if it is used during the closure. The closure is not an arbitrary rule where there is no consequence.
Three, there are a lot of loose rocks, steep drop-offs, holes, and disconformities during construction that make the trail unsafe for public use.
As well, a portion of the former lower trail has been decommissioned so that a more sustainable grade can be taken with a lower trail reroute. Some members of the public have been destroying this decommission work and attempting to open the old trial back up. This vandalism wastes ACE’s time and effort, requires more volunteer work to fix up and also calls for the recruitment of valuable law enforcement resources.
If any member of the public sees people entering the closed trail, please call Police Dispatch at 707-996-3601 and report.
For those who enjoy running on the Overlook Trail, many alternative loops with good hills exist. Try Second Street East up the hill and into the cemetery. Run a loop or two around a combination of the steep hills in the cemetery and then exit the cemetery via the Vets Cemetery and head to the Field of Dreams Montini trail entrance. Go up the hill by the big water tank, go through Montini on routes of your choice and exit at 4th Street West and the come back to the cemetery and 2nd Street East on the bike path and/or back through the Vets building parking lot. These above options are fun and interesting to explore and they give a good variety to local city recreactional resources.
The Montini Trail is open; it is very nice, and is worth exploring.
In closing, the SOT Stewards and the Overlook Trail Rehab Project Team ask the public to be patient, cooperate and play by the rules, and please honor the trail closure. The trail project has addressed some big maintenance issues and the end product is worth waiting for.