Sonoma County Regional Parks officials have announced the acquisition of 120 acres on the western flank of Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve near Santa Rosa.

The area, known as Cougar Landing, will preserve wildlife habitat, offer new recreation opportunities and support future wildfire defense, according to parks spokeswoman Sarah Phelps.

Much of the preserve was burned in the 2020 Glass Fire and the recent owner agreed to a $1.02 million sale after the blaze swept over the Mayacamas Mountains, Phelps said.

The property’s summit sits at 1,883 feet and provides unobstructed views of the Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley and is home to pristine swathes of Douglas fir, California bay, mixed oak forest, native grasslands and the upper reaches of the Santa Rosa Creek watershed.

In addition to rich flora, Cougar Landing is also home to migration routes for brown bears, mountain lions and bobcats, and provides nesting habitat for special-status bird species such as the northern spotted owl.

“It provides exciting possibilities for new trail connections and allows us to rethink the recreation and education opportunities as we restore the park after the fire,” said Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker.

Funding for the acquisition came from Measure M sales tax and park mitigation fees. A grant was also awarded from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Bill and Dave Legacy Fund.

Public access to Cougar Landing may be possible by this summer, Phelps said.

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.