Finding ‘mind-clearing joy’ at Jack London Park
Posted on June 25, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun
How lucky are we to have this one of a kind, beautiful place called Jack London Park right here in the middle of our valley?
By Mike Benziger
In 2012, when the Park was scheduled for closure, a group of locals got together and became the first to manage a state park privately. This meant that we would receive no money from the state to keep the Park open but depend on visitors and donations to keep the place running. As an early board member, I remember how inspiring it was to see the support this community gave to our park time after time.
The last few years have not been easy. Fires ripped through the valley but spared Jack London Park. Again, the community stepped up to the massive task of clearing land and reducing the fire danger. I honestly thought we dodged a bullet of the likes we’d never have to deal with again. Then came COVID. The Park closed. We sheltered in place. It felt hopeless. At least with the fires, you could pick up a shovel or rake and do something. It was during this time that Mary, my wife, and I began to appreciate Jack London Park more than ever.
With the authorities telling us to wear a mask, social distance, meet outside, visiting the Park and hiking its trails became the best and safest medicine ever to reduce anxiety and elevate well-being. There is one word in our mission statement that is more important than ever, and that word is “Joy.” I want to take this moment to recognize that the success of this Park, first and foremost, rests upon the incredible support we receive from you and our generous community.
In these times of uncertainty and stress, I invite you to experience the mind-clearing “Joy” of Jack London Park
— Mike Benziger, chair – Jack London State Historic Park