> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

The apparent defeat of a sales tax measure for parks in California’s Sonoma County could mean thousands of acres of county-owned lands will remain effectively closed to the public for years to come, and possibly lead to more fees, including at iconic locations on the coast such as Bodega Head and Goat Rock.

According to a report by the Press Democrat, Measure J supporters called the half-cent sales tax increase — and the estimated $95 million in revenue it was to generate over a decade — critical for making park improvements and to fully open some sites to the public, including nearly 4,000 acres of land owned by the county’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.

Supporters also touted the measure as a way of preventing, or at least limiting, the state’s plans to implement new day-use fees along the Sonoma Coast, through the county assuming management of some of those sites.

 The measure’s apparent defeat casts much of those plans into doubt, officials said.

“We’re just going to have to make due with the funding we have,” said Caryl Hart, the county’s regional parks director.

For the full story click here.