Guided Fire Ecology Hike

Suttenfield Lake
Most of the hike was near the shore of Suttenfield Lake. Green grasses contrasted with darkened areas and trees that had not yet bounced back.
User: Austin Explorer - 1/14/2018

Location: Sonoma Valley Regional Park

Rating: 3stars
Difficulty: 3stars  Solitude: 2stars
Miles Hiked: 2.43 Miles  Elapsed Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes


Coppertone and I went on a guided hike with the Sonoma Ecology Center to illustrate the area's ability to recover from the recent wildfires that ravaged the area.  Technically, the hike was in the Sonoma Developmental Center property but it's adjacent to Sonoma Valley Regional Park and many hikes there include a visit to Lake Suttenfield here.  Many locals also consider the undeveloped acres of the SDC part of the park anyway.

We found grass fields with verdant green abundant new growth.  Even trees and bushes with blackened trunks have started to show bud breaks for new leaves.  Still, there were dark black or whitish ash patches where the fire burned hotter and regrowth has not yet been able to establish itself.  In some cases trees that had previously fallen and burned on the ground left marks that reminded me of body outlines at a crime scene.

Overall, the area showed more improvement at this point than we were expecting.  We left feeling a bit better about the valley's ability to recover.  This wasn't the first fire to come through the area and it won't be the last.  In time it will look as beautiful as when we first saw it.

Log Photos
Suttenfield Lake
Dairy Area
Green and black
Trail View
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