Del Rio Woods

Fitch Mountain locals and county parks staff gathered at Del Rio Woods beach on October 16th to celebrate its new life as a county park.

The six-acre riverside park was managed for 74 years by the volunteer board of a small public recreation district.

In addition to maintaining a small beach and parking area, the district installed a summer dam each year, to promote swimming.

As the understanding of river habitat evolved, it became more difficult to get permits for a dam and the last attempt to install an inflatable rubber dam in 2002 ended poorly, with the river current tearing away the dam within minutes of installation and carrying it down river.

After years of meetings, discussions and public hearings, the district dissolved and Sonoma County Regional Parks took over the property in 2016.

Over the past two years, planning, bidding and construction resulted in a fresh new look for the park. A repaved parking area, split rail fences, a disabled access porta-potty, picnic tables and a gentle path to the beach are all in place.

Invasive plant removal, a constant process along the Russian River, has also taken place.

Chris Evans, who lives across the river and paddled to the event last week, noted that not only the Del Rio beach, but “all the way along the bank to Camp Rose” has been cleaned up as part of the rehabilitation.

Bert Whitaker, the head of county parks, spoke briefly to the assembled group.

“We value these access points along the Russian River and you can see here that a modest investment gave us big returns.”

Whitaker promised “an ongoing conversation (with locals and users) in how to make it better.”

Pat Abercrombie, president of the Fitch Mountain Association looked approvingly around the park. “This used to be place to park three pickup trucks and drink beer. Now, it’s more a place to come with your family.”

Del Rio Woods is on the back side of Fitch Mountain and is accessible from Fitch Mountain Road.

The park hours are sunrise to sunset and parking is limited.

See Pictures from August 2017 Volunteer Workday:

Latest Drawings of Planned New Facitilies:

Transfer of Park from Del Rio Woods Recreation District to Sonoma County Regional Parks, 2015-2016:

Sonoma County Regional Parks Public Comment Meeting on Proposed Upgrades.

On Saturday April 1st, 2017, Sonoma County Regional Parks staff hosted a public comment meeting on the proposed upgrades to Del Rio Woods. About a dozen neighbors attended the meeting which was held at Del Rio. Bert Whitaker, Regional Parks Operations Manager, Mark Cleveland, Senior Park Planner, and Jessie Cablk, Park Ranger II, first presented a concept proposal that they thought the Fitch Mountain community would find, “intriguing and entertaining.”

They then presented a more realistic proposal.

April 1 meeting

The planned improvements include:

  • Removing the chain-link fencing along Del Rio Woods Road and replacing them with a wooden split rail fence.
  • The old shed will be removed and parking lot converted to a flow-through design with a new exit gate at the north end of the lot. The gates to the parking lot will continue to be locked at night. Pedestrian traffic is allowed through anytime.
  • A new ADA-compliant pathway will be built down through the picnic area and beyond.
  • The picnic area will be raised a couple feet and expanded a bit, and the large boulders scattered about the property will be repurposed as borders for these areas. Some benches will be added above and below the picnic area.
  • Water fountains and a jug filling station will be added by the new picnic tables and a handwashing station by the porta-potty, which will be moved over by the existing stairway. Additional trash receptacles will placed about the park.
  • Interpretive signs describing the flora and fauna endemic to the area will be added along with guidelines for appropriate stewardship of fragile ecosystems like the Russian River.
  • Deciduous trees will be added to provide shade for the picnic area in the summer while letting the sun through during the winter months.

Relevant page from Sonoma County web site:

Recent Meeting Summary:

Invasive Species Near the River

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the FMA Del Rio Woods Committee chair Pat Abercrombie (patabercrombie@comcast.net).