Putnam Park Challenge Grant Update!

We are excited to share this progress report on the work underway at Helen Putnam Regional Park, thanks to our generous Putnam Challenge grant donors. Click on the letter to read the full update. Click on the map for details on the Putnam addition.

Challenge Grant History

Thank you donors one and all! With your generosity, we were able to match our anonymous donor’s $50,000 matching grant for projects at Helen Putnam Park in the summer and fall of 2016.

The challenge grant improvements constitute a multi-year project, with work underway as of May 2017 and continuing until completion in 2018-2019. With the unexpected diversion of Regional Parks’ field and planning staff in the aftermath of the wildfires, work at Putnam has been delayed a bit. We appreciate parkgoers’ understanding and patience.

Putnam visitors have likely observed trail work underway. Volunteer work days have happened, and more will be scheduled. As trail work progresses, users may notice some short detours or alternative routes.

Other key renovations funded by this grant:

  • Grazing: Parkgoers may notice sheep or goats in various areas of the park throughout 2017 and 2018.
  • Pond work is likely to start in 2018 due to needed regulatory approvals

Description of Priority Projects

Those who frequent Putnam Park will understand the need for priority attention to these projects:

Trail Renovation (including but not limited to):

  • Re-routing minor trail segments, improving drainage, and reducing erosion.
  • Restoring and decommissioning unauthorized trails.
  • Creating and installing trail wayfinding signage.
  • Acquiring required permits and approvals (if any) for trail renovation.
  • Other activities to improve the visitor experience and ecological performance of the existing trail system.

Pond ErosionPond peoplePond 2

Pond Enhancement to improve habitat, visitor safety, and visitor experience, including: 

  • Installing stable pond access trails and stabilizing pond bank.
  • Building a boardwalk or other structure for pond access for fishing, viewing and seating.
  • Planting native riparian plants for habitat and aesthetics.
  • Instituting measures to improve water quality.

Oak Woodland and oak savannah habitat enhancement and management, including but not limited to:

  • Planting and protecting oak trees, native grass and understory.
  • Monitoring for Sudden Oak Death.
  • Other activities that improve the ecological health of the Park’s oaks.

Goat and/or Sheep Grazing performed in short intervals that will benefit native wildflowers and native grassland, reduce poison oak and invasive weeds, and manage fuels in an ecologically beneficial way.

Goat at Tolay

Putnam kids EberInterpretive Signage along a designated “nature trail” or at other points of interest to interpret the park’s natural and cultural history and other topics of interest.

Interested in more details on this exciting opportunity? The Petaluma Argus Courier published an article on the Putnam Challenge Grant (6/25/2016). Read it here.

To contact the Parks Foundation directly, call Melissa Kelley, executive director, at (707) 565-1830 or email melissa.kelley@sonoma-county.org.


We would like to acknowledge these generous organizations for their support of the Putnam Challenge Grant: