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Four new trails to enjoy at Putnam Park

If you haven’t visited Helen Putnam Park recently, there are a four new and delightful trails to explore. You will enjoy the improvements.

The first one is Cattail Trail, which can be entered at several places around the pond. This trail gives you easy access to a picnic table at the north end of the pond that is perfect for a snack while watching the kids fish. The trail allows for a complete circuit of the pond. In the rainy season, the trail crosses a small stream that can be navigated by stepping from rock to rock. Kids especially enjoy getting close to the banks of the pond on this trail.

Now for the second new trail. Veering off from Cattail Trail at the south end of the pond is Yarrow Trail that climbs higher across the hill above the pond. You will soon come to a T intersection. Going left on Yarrow, the trail intersects with Savannah Trail, which, going right, takes you to the ridge or going left to the parking lot. If you take Yarrow to the right, it leads to a spot I call “The Intersection” because so many trails connect here.

At this intersection you will find the popular South Loop Trail, the third new trail. A good rock bed has been laid at the entrance to this trail. Parks staff has designed a new path that leads off to the right, and in many places closely parallels the old route. The trail bed is smoother, wider, and less steep. Eventually, the new trail connects to the old trail, and you will be back on familiar ground.

Now for the fourth new trail. This one is not open yet. Yes, people do hike and bike it. Yes, Regional Parks knows people hike and bike it. But it is not officially open. Plans call for the installation of a parking lot off Windsor Drive later this year. This fourth trail will become a new entrance to the park. Without a parking lot and with no parking strictly enforced in the surrounding neighborhoods, this trail is best accessed by hikers from above. It connects to Filaree Trail, and is an out-and-back trail, not a loop. It is fenced and closed, but locals have penetrated the barriers. If you descend, be prepared to hike back up the hill. An official dedication of this new 40-acre addition to Putnam Park will be on the calendar. I hope you will attend. You can help to further construct and improve this trail and others in the park by signing up to participate in the Sonoma County Trails Council’s work parties.

My husband, Andy, and I joined 30 other volunteers - young and old - including the Casa Grande High mountain bike team on a recent Saturday, leveling sections, building berms, laying jute, and cutting drainage channels. The Trails Council provides all the tools and guidance, with snacks and drinks afterward. Go to https://www.sonomacountytrailscouncil.org to sign up.

Happy hiking in 2020!

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