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FITCH MOUNTAIN PRESERVE MANAGEMENT PLAN IS APPROVED

In early 2017, FMA addressed a draft management plan drafted by the city. FMA vigorously opposed the designation of the mountain top as an area for the public to reserve for events. As a result of meetings and discussions between FMA leadership and the City of Healdsburg, the proposed Management Plan has changed substantially. FMA commended the City for listening to community input and adjusting the Preserve Management Plan accordingly. FMA urged the City Council to approve the revised Management Plan.

Thanks to EVERYONE’S efforts, the City of Healdsburg heard clearly the voice of the community (not just Fitch Mountain!) and in their March 6th meeting the city council quickly approved the Fitch Mountain Park and Open Space Management Plan.

FMA wishes to recognize the untiring efforts, in this laborious process, of Community Services Dir. Mark Themig, his staff; PCI, the consulting firm that put together the Management Plan; and LandPaths, for its terrific stewardship efforts. Mark Themig in particular has been patient, hard-working at all hours, and very responsive to the community. Even when he had to deal with me. We look forward to working with him in the future.

Among the provisions of the Plan, we note the proposal to engage individuals and user groups in Preserve monitoring, stewardship, and review procedures, and the FMA pledges its full cooperation in such ongoing efforts.

We also note that operating and maintenance costs of the Preserve may not be fully met by the City funding mechanisms. We look forward to the establishment by the City of a sound financial plan for the Preserve, as part of the City’s overall budget, and, if necessary, the FMA pledges its assistance with ongoing fundraising efforts for the Preserve.

What comes now?

The City will now be applying for the myriad permits required, CEQA, etc—very lengthy and laborious.

The City is working on signage for the trails and entrance to the Preserve.

Probably in summer-fall, work will begin on some of the infrastructure on & around the Villa Chanticleer section.

In November of this year, Healdsburg takes over formal ownership from LandPaths.

Sometime in early 2018, the final improvements will be made & the Preserve will officially open.

IN THE MEANTIME

  • If you are a dog-walker and you “choose not to leash,” those days will soon be coming to an end. Please use the link on the left to see the Management Plan on Dog Walking. Speakers at the City Council meeting re-iterated what we have heard many times--how threatened other walkers/dogs are by off-leash dogs. Please protect the wildlife, their habitat, and your neighbors: LEASH YOUR DOG.
  • We APPEAL to those who so eloquently supported the Preserve. CONTINUE to support it by being a FM steward! FMA has promised that it would energetically participate in “working the mountain,” monitoring activities/use of the Preserve, and reporting/reviewing operations and future needs. Just say Yes, e-mail davehen(at)sonic.net, and we’ll figure out together what each of us would like to do. We’re very much in the brainstorming phase right now… So, lend us your brain.

SCAPOSD

The SC Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District made possible our Fitch mountain Preserve.

Now they’re looking for input about the future.

“In an effort to continue and enhance the preservation of the county’s protected acres, the district is embarking on a new plan that will guide the district’s efforts and focus for the next 15 years. Called the Vital Lands Initiative, the plan will use the best available science, data and technical information available to identify strategies for prioritizing conservation of the county’s agricultural and natural lands, scenic views, greenbelts and lands for public recreation and access.”

And they want to hear from us: “We intend to have a robust community engagement process to hear from public how they want to see the district to prioritize land conservation work in the next 15 years.”

The first meeting will be held Tuesday, March 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Healdsburg at the Healdsburg Community Center.

Tell them what you would like to see! (How about a connector corridor between Del Rio Woods, the FM Preserve, and Hbg Ridge Open Space Preserve?)