Located two miles north of the town of Jenner along the stunning Sonoma coast is the Gateway to the Jenner Headlands Preserve. Visitors to the Sonoma coast now have the opportunity to explore this spectacular 5,630-acre nature preserve, free of charge.
Upon acquisition of this preserve in 2009, The Wildlands Conservancy and the Sonoma Land Trust partnered with Sonoma County Regional Parks to conduct an access study that evaluated all potential public access points to the Preserve. Based on the results of this study, the Gateway site was identified as the primary access point for public recreation.
Once a management plan was finalized, The Wildlands Conservancy began the arduous task of designing and creating a public access space that not only provided safe access for visitors, but also blended in to the natural landscape. Working with landscape architects and engineers as well as partners including Sonoma Land Trust and Ag + Open Space, they were able to create a functional and visually appealing space.
The new space now includes a 30-space parking lot, interpretive signage, restrooms and a trailhead inviting visitors to explore 14 miles of trails and stunning scenery. The Gateway to the Jenner Headlands represents years of hard work aimed at balancing design and management with restoration and preservation.
The Moore Foundation supported this project from the early stages through our San Francisco Bay Area Program, and we are thrilled to see the hard work of our partners come to fruition. The Sonoma Coast and Jenner Headlands are a beautiful representation of the special character of the Bay Area.
“Jenner Headlands is one of those special places that should not only be conserved, but also open for everyone to enjoy,” said Dan Winterson, program officer for the Moore Foundation’s San Francisco Bay Area conservation program. “We’re very grateful to The Wildlands Conservancy and all of the people who dedicated time and funding to allow for public access to this amazing landscape.”
The land acquisition of the area between Jenner Headlands and the Little Black Mountain Preserve connects more than 6,300 acres of open space. Ambitious hikers who reach the top of Pole Mountain – the highest peak along the Sonoma Coast at 2,204 feet – will be treated to unobstructed, 360-degree views of Sonoma County, from the coast to the inland vineyards.
“A hike from the Jenner Headlands to the top of Pole Mountain is to explore coastal fields, forests and vistas that have drawn people here for millennia,” said Dave Koehler, executive director of Sonoma Land Trust. “The success of our partnership to protect this special place and open the public trail will be measured in the years ahead by visitors of all ages whose hearts and minds become connected to the land and are inspired onward to care for its future.”
The Gateway to Jenner Headlands is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking and access to Jenner Headlands Preserve and Pole Mountain are provided free of charge by the Wildlands Conservancy.