News filtered out this week that Sonoma County Regional Parks is interested in applying for a grant from CalTrans to fund the feasibility study for the new trail –an extension of the West County Trail — that would connect Sebastopol and Petaluma along the old Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad route. The catch is CalTrans needs a local 10% match. Regional Parks planner Ken Tam estimates  for 13 mile study will cost $196,000, meaning nearly $20,000 to match. Parks does not have available funds for the trail until 2013. The funds must be shown as available at the time of the application and  the application deadline is March 30. The Santa Rosa Bicycle Club and the City of Sebastopol may each be able to put in a small percentage. The Sebastopol TrailMakers and Bike Walk Sebastopol are looking at ways to raise the remainder in time.


Trek over right-of-way of Liberty Branch of Petaluma-Santa Rosa Railroad, Petaluma, Calif., 1955 (photo courtesy of the Sonoma County Library)