Over the past few years, the City of Woodland and a partnership of local nonprofit organizations, including Yolo Audubon, have been working to design a park and nature center along Road 102, just south of Woodland. Owned by the City, Woodland Regional Park occupies 160 acres at the site of a former model airplane park and landfill. Its conspicuous topographic feature is a long, shallow depression alongside a hill. The hill was formed years ago, as the depression supplied dirt to cap the landfill.
Today’s intent is to turn the low spot into a wetland, partly permanent and partly seasonal, and line its margin with native trees and shrubs. Other parts of the property will be planted with valley oaks. The vernal pools and alkali prairie on the site, and their rare plants, will be legally protected with easements. All these enhancements should be good for birds, including Swainson’s hawk and tricolored blackbird.
To improve public access, the project includes a three-mile foot trail through the upland, and an ADA-compliant trail along the edge of the wetland. The long-range intent is to build a nature center, complete with classrooms, a science laboratory, and an exhibit/conference room. The operation would provide formal and informal education for people of all ages, attracting classes from local schools, supporting citizen science, and training docents.
The partnership has secured over $1.3 million in grants to construct the wetlands, the first phase of tree planting, the ADA trail, and interpretive signs and a kiosk. Insofar as possible, the planting and interpretive work will be done by community volunteers.
A grant from the Yolo Community Foundation to Tuleyome is enabling collaboration among six local nonprofits to attract diverse audiences to the site. For example, Yolo Audubon will use grant funds to provide binoculars for park visitors, and board member Alison Kent secured a grant from Audubon California to design and produce a bilingual docent training handbook for the park.
This project exemplifies community-based conservation, as described in this column (in November 2017) as probably the most durable way to protect nature. In particular, the project partners aim to put responsibility and authority in the hands of the community that benefits from it. Your participation is welcome.
The park is expected to open in fall 2019.
Michael Perrone, YAS Board, Conservation