Here at Conservation Action, we’ve been long-dedicated to fighting for the preservation of open space and community separators. Protecting Sonoma County land isn’t only about preserving its natural beauty for future generations – it’s also about maintaining the charm of our cities, protecting our rural heritage, and standing strong for the interests of our citizens.
Open space is the common term for undeveloped, rural land which is protected against undesired commercial or residential development. This could be because the land isn’t a good candidate for this type of development, but in the case of Sonoma County, it’s a deliberate protection put in place to ensure the environmental protection of our farmland, forests, rivers, and more. Unchecked urban sprawl can lead to a variety of environmental issues, as well as destroy the beautiful natural landscape Sonoma County is so well-known for.
Are you familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership? It’s a trade agreement between multiple countries that seeks to lower trade barriers and protect the interests of multinational corporations, often at the expense of consumers, the environment, and local workers. If that’s not enough to give you pause, new negotiations are well underway, and the United States is involved. Furthermore, the industries behind the agreement are looking to fast track the process, which would effectively cut Congress out of the equation by not allowing them the ability to amend the treaty or get approval from their constituents.
In 2013, Sonoma County denied State Parks’ coastal permit application requesting the installation of pay stations that would charge a fee to park at several Bodega Bay and other Sonoma Coast beaches. Many of these publicly-accessible and free beaches are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and nearly everyone surveyed voices strong disapproval for “iron rangers,” or automated machines to collect payment, many of which take only cash. The message was clear then, as it is now: Sonoma County wants to keep our beaches free.