Historic Rancho Mark West, a 124-acre "outdoor classroom," owned and stewarded by LandPaths, is home to the oldest barn in Sonoma County, organic community gardens, towering stands of old-growth redwoods and an abundant stretch of salmon-bearing Mark West Creek.
LandPaths envisions Rancho Mark West as a vibrant "community hub," created by and for the people - a wild place of refuge and a thriving outdoor classroom just up the hill from where we actually live, work and go to school, a preserve that honors the history and vitality of Sonoma County’s working lands while at the same time highlights the diversity and fragility of the ecosystem, the Mark West Creek and surrounding watershed. Rancho Mark West currently hosts LandPaths' Summer Camp - Owl Camp, hundreds of In Our Own Backyard students each year, as well as numerous Community Events and Stewardship Opportunities. In 2014 LandPaths plans to implement a rain water catchment system onsite, both a functional and demonstration project to help increase flow for salmon in Mark West Creek by offsetting our agricultural water use.
With generous assistance from the California Coastal Conservancy, LandPaths purchased Rancho Mark West in 2011. Under the unique terms of this purchase, Jim and Betty Doerkson, who have owned and stewarded Rancho Mark West since 1967, now own a remainder estate on the Property. LandPaths decided to purchase Rancho Mark West after over a decade of partnering with Jim & Betty to engage the public on this land through outings and outdoor education. With a stunning diversity of habitats, significant ties to the community already in place, and its proximity to the urban center of Sonoma County, LandPaths finds Rancho Mark West ideally situated for a nature-based education center, offering diverse and expanding public access opportunites for all of us who live in this county (and beyond).
We aim to offer a full suite of outings and stewardship events each season at Rancho Mark West. Please click here for a complete, site-specific list of current outings, events and stewardship days.