News and Announcements

Read more about the activities of Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation below.

Temporary Visitor Center Opens at Doran Regional Park

Regional Parks is opening a temporary visitor center at Doran Regional Park on Saturday, Aug. 5. Park staff and officials will host a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. and welcome visitors into the center. Naturalists will lead family activities, including a tide pool talk with live sea animals, and refreshments will be served.

The visitor center is located in a trailered cabin parked near the boardwalk. Park staff have prepared a variety of interactive displays that interprets the diverse habitats found at Doran the sand dunes, ocean, wetlands and intertidal zone.  The exhibits include the preserved skeleton of a sea lion, a children’s discovery activities and a touch table, and interpretive panels created by a local artist illustrating the habitats of Doran Regional Park and the Sonoma Coast.

The visitor center is part of Sonoma County Regional Park’s 50th anniversary celebration, and will be open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through November. The center will be staffed by unpaid park volunteers, who will be available for visitors to ask questions, as a service to the community.

Doran Regional Park is a destination for over 750,000 visitors each year. There are very few interpretive facilities on the Sonoma Coast.  The long-awaited Doran visitor center provides an enhanced experience for park goers to learn about the local flora and fauna of the area, purchase park memorabilia, and an opportunity to have questions answered about the area by park representatives.  One of the primary goals of the visitor center is to educate campers and visitors on the unique values at Doran and instill an ethic of stewardship.

The visitor center is a cabin trailer designed by students from Cal Poly Pomona.  It is identical to the newly opened camping cabins at Spring Lake Park. The temporary building is ADA compliant.

The trailer cost approximately $30,000, and was funded by the Transient Occupancy Tax approved by the Board of Supervisors as part of the Regional Parks 50th anniversary celebration to showcase Doran as the first park in the system. The exhibits were funded by donations to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation.

Read about Funky Fridays here in Local Wally’s Sonoma Tourist Guide online!

Why is our parks staff $60,000 happier? Answer in our March 2017 e-news here.

March 1, 2017 Kenwood Press: “Blues bring in Benjamins for Local Parks Projects”

February 23, 2017 Sonoma Index-Tribune: “Funky Fridays Awards $50K to Sonoma Parks Projects.”

Generous Donor Funds New Restrooms at Doran Beach
new-restrooms-planned-for-doran-campgroundWe are thrilled to announce that the Parks Foundation has received a grant from Ginnie and Peter Haas, Jr. to construct a much needed restroom to serve the Gull and Shell Campgrounds at Doran Beach. The Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund will award the Parks Foundation $170,000 over the next two years for this project. In addition, the Fund granted the Parks Foundation $25,000 towards construction of a new trail connecting the Doran Beach campgrounds to Smith Brothers Road.

Currently, the 40-45 campsites at Gull and Shell Campgrounds are served by just four composting toilets. The Haas family’s generous gift will allow Regional Parks to construct a new, more attractive facility featuring flush toilets. The building will be in full compliance with current accessibility standards.

The planned trail from the Doran Beach campgrounds to Smith Brothers Road will enable Doran visitors to walk or bike from the popular park to restaurants and shops, providing a much safer alternative than walking or biking along Highway 1. An additional benefit will be that having a convenient bike and pedestrian trail will encourage more people to choose transit options other than driving, reducing traffic congestion in the area.

Engineering, design and permits for the new trail are expected to cost approximately $100,000. The Parks Foundation is seeking additional funding to reach this $100,000 goal and initiate the design and engineering portion of the trail.

We are grateful to Ginnie and Peter Haas, Jr. for their generous contributions to these two Doran Beach projects.



Pediatrician and Parks Foundation board member Ari Hauptman, M.D. (center) with James Pyskaty, M.D. and his wife. Crystal Cox. Dr. Pyskaty and Crystal made a generous year-end donation to the Foundation in Ari’s honor.

Kaiser Permanente Physicians and Staff
Award Ari Hauptman, M.D. Volunteer of the Year

Board Member and pediatrician Dr. Ari Hauptman was recently awarded Volunteer of the Year by his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center. The award recognizes Ari’s extraordinary advocacy and passion for local parks, as well as his commitment to promoting exercise and time outdoors.  He is a dedicated and active contributor to the Parks Foundation board. Congratulations, Ari! 

Read more here in our December 2016 e-news.


Wildlife camera project: Sonoma County Regional Parks recently installed new wildlife cameras to better understand how wildlife travel within our parks. We are thrilled with the images and information these cameras are providing. The cameras were purchased and installed with funds from a 2016 Parks Foundation grant. Have a look:


helen putnamPutnam Park Challenge Grant Announced

The Parks Foundation has executed an agreement with an anonymous donor for a $50,000 challenge grant benefitting Helen Putnam Regional Park! Over the next two years, funds raised by the Parks Foundation to benefit Putnam Park will be matched dollar-for-dollar by this donor, up to a total match of $50,000!  Click here to donate now, and select “Putnam Park Dollar-for-Dollar match”.

The priorities for the Putnam Challenge Grant funds will be much needed trail renovation, pond enhancement, oak woodland and oak savannah habitat management and enhancement, goat and/or sheep grazing, and interpretive signage along a nature trail.


The Petaluma Argus Courier published an article on the Putnam Challenge Grant (6/25/2016). Read it here.

Parks Foundation Board Chair Carol Eber wrote about needed improvements at Putnam Park in her Argus Courier Go Play Outside column. Read it here.

Foundation Purchases Zoom Flume for Regional Parks

ABOVE: The Parks Foundation is delighted to have assisted Regional Parks with the purchase of these Zoom Flume slides. These portable, inflatable water slides made their debut at the Healdsburg Water Carnival on August 13. Activities like the Zoom Flume and WiBit water park at Spring Lake swimming lagoon help Regional Parks create additional independent revenue streams. We are grateful to Foundation donors for helping make this possible!

****Other News****

Parks Ranger Brandon Bredo shares information about our July 14th Bike the Track benefit on KRCB radio: have a listen here.

The Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation of Santa Rosa has fully funded this summer’s Vamos a Nadar swim lessons program, with a grant of $13,530. This is the second year the Finley Foundation has supported this program, and we’re grateful for this continued support. Thank you to Regional Parks Aquatics Director David Robinson for his assistance with this grant application and for his oversight of this important program.

Petaluma360 featured Parks Foundation Board Member Suzanne Tucker in recent article.

Sonoma Family Life magazine promoted Funky Fridays: read the article here.

The Press Democrat announced Funky Fridays’ move to Hood Mansion: read the article here.

Sonoma Index-Tribune reported about Funky Fridays: read the article here.

Sonoma Valley Patch promoted Task Force Production’s Trails for Taylor fundraiser, “Paradise Waits.” See the promotion here.

Sonoma County Gazette wrote about Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve anticipated trails project: read the article here.

The Press Democrat reported about Regional Parks’ water safety programs, including Foundation-supported Vamos a Nadar and Russian River Water Safety Patrol: read the article here.

The Kenwood Plaza Park gazebo was dedicated on September 20, 2014. This article from the Press Democrat “Towns” section provides an update about the beautiful structure. Read the article here.

In 2013, to raise funds for the Kenwood Park Plaza gazebo, a very successful fundraiser was produced as a benefit for the Foundation. Thank you to the host committee that worked diligently to organize this event: Don and Amy MacNair, Colleen and Steve Rose, Helena Duffy Eljumaily, Laura Benward, Paul Kruzic and Jay Gamel, with support from many others in the community. Read the article here.

The Press Democrat featured the Regional Parks Water Safety Program in July 2013. The Regional Parks Foundation raises funds for this program, which performed 17 rescues in its first year. Water Safety Patrol PD article