Russian River Valley News
Forestville Businesses Heating Up for Summer + Roads on the Repair List
By Vesta Copestakes
This column has been reprinted with the permission of Neighbors of the Russian River Valley.*
It’s officially summer along the Russian River and every community that depends upon visitors is celebrating that our river is full again. It has that lovely pea green color that we love so well! Dark, clear, and full of life.
The first stop along our river communities that is in full summer mode is Forestville. With two new restaurants, Brew Coffee Bar & Taproom (6566 Front St.) and Sonoma Pizza Co. (6615 Front St), as well as Angela’s Ice Cream (6671 Front St.), the town is busy most days and evenings. The Downtown Oaks Park is groomed with new picnic tables to welcome farmers market guests every Tuesday from 4 – 7pm, and as well as bicyclists and walkers along the West County Trail as it travels along the Atascadero Valley to Graton and points south/east. This trail goes all the way to Santa Rosa but starts right in downtown Forestville. People can rent bikes at Russian River Cycle Service (6559 Front St.) if they don’t have their own.
Burke’s Canoe Trips (8600 River Rd.) has been around for decades and survived the pandemic probably because it has been family-owned for decades. Between restricted visitors and drought, this river-dependent business is fully ready for canoe and kayak trips down the river with bus service back to your car. It doesn’t get any better than this! Reservations are highly recommended! 707-887-1222. Right up the street from Burke’s on Mirabel Road, Speers Market (7891 Mirabel Rd,) has everything necessary to pack a lunch for a day on the river.
Roads on the Repair List
One thing you may notice this year is that Pi (Sonoma County Public Infrastructure) has mowed the edges of River Road. It may not be perfect but it’s far better than the fire hazard that River Road had become. People tell me that Pi has been down many of our main thoroughfares this spring getting our roads ready for summer fire season. We are VERY appreciative!
Some of our roads took some pretty serious hits this last winter. It may not have flooded like it did in 2019 but rain was constant and powerful. Roads slip into creeks, landslides covered lanes, and bridges washed out. As we travel West County roads we notice many with cracks where sections are slipping toward creeks and canyons. PAY ATTENTION, especially if riding motorcycles because these slips can create instability even with four wheels.
The road many people are alarmed about is Wohler Road heading toward Healdsburg. Yes, it’s on the fix list for this year. People will be glad to know that the Downtown Bridge in Monte Rio is on the list for full repairs, but there is a good detour that is easy to get around until the major fix can be completed. Also, a very complex fix is in the works for Moscow Road which washed out – which flood was that? And got worse when a tree fell and took out more of the riverbank. BUT, our county got tired of waiting for Federal FEMA Flood Relief funds and just bit the bullet and will get repairs started this summer. This is no small fix, so please be patient.
Here’s a County LINK resource that has answers to many questions about roads and repairs. The map shows closed roads – then SCROLL DOWN for a list of roads. https://roadclosures-sonomacounty.hub.arcgis.com/
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Sonoma Public Infrastructure (Formerly GS and TPW): is where you can find current and future road projects (the entire county website is being rebuilt so some pages are updated, others are not. This is one still in-process). https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/development-services/sonoma-public-infrastructure-(formerly-tpw)/road-projects/current-road-work-and-closures
AND a link you will want to keep so you can get your road that needs repair on the list for the Sonoma County’s Pavement Preservation Program: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/development-services/sonoma-public-infrastructure-(formerly-tpw)/divisions/roads/services/pavement-preservation
It will take a while, but just getting on the list really helps. By the time you read this Sonoma County’s fiscal year 2023/24 budget will have been completed so you can find out how much funding got committed to roads. With Federal Infrastructure funds coming our way, we are well on our way to better roads.
HAPPY SUMMER! Be a tourist in your own river community. Don’t let visitors have all the fun!
* River Valley News column will be published in the July, 2023 Neighbors of the Russian River Valley (Best Version Media), a monthly magazine distributed to neighbors in the Russian River Valley. Reprinted with permission. For more info, go to their Facebook page, here.