Our goal is to create an inclusive and vibrant outdoor place that enriches the lives of everyone in our community and revitalizes our river habitat. We are in the process of purchasing 20 acres of wild waterfront property on the McNear Peninsula, surrounded by the Petaluma River. It is a rare piece of land in downtown Petaluma that we believe should be preserved and enjoyed by the public as a park.



The park site inhabits the bulk of the McNear Peninsula along the Petaluma River, just off D Street through Haystack Landing. The acreage is adjacent to the land where the Friends of the Petaluma River have their headquarters. We look forward to working closely with them.

Petaluma River Park is near the SMART train station, several bus stops, and is within easy walking distance of downtown.


Petaluma River Park will consist of three main sites.

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North West Site

Most people will enter and exit the park from this side. Informational kiosks and way-finding signage are nearby to greet visitors. Oak, Willow, and Bay trees provide shade and section off an area for sculpture, picnics, etc.

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North East Site

The outdoor amphitheater and sculpture site makes use of the rise in the landscape. Native Oak, Willow, and Bay trees provide shade and habitat. The ridge trail in the background gets the visitor to the highest part of the property for full views of the river and park. This will likely be a good spot for a small craft dock to be built during the restoration phase.

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South East Site

The tip of the park will include Huru, a sculpture by Mark di Suvero on long term loan from a local family. This area is significantly eroded and seems to need restoration most urgently. Long views are preserved here and much of the field will remain unobstructed to allow for picnics and informal field games. This area may be a good spot for a small fishing dock.



In addition to providing pathways, picnic areas, and other facilities needed for a successful public park, significant habitat restoration and erosion control will need to be undertaken to bring this landscape back to full health. We have a four phase plan to realize the vision. Some aspects of the phasing will be concurrent or on a parallel track as funds and conditions allow. The goal is to be up and running as soon as possible and at full speed in five years.

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Phase 1 will focus on bioengineering and habitat restoration. This means building on the proposed McNear Peninsula Habitat Restoration Project as laid out in the Central Petaluma Specific Plan. The City of Petaluma and groups like Friends of the Petaluma River and Petaluma River Access Partners are representative of key stakeholders to include as we work toward revitalizing the property. The restoration will be accomplished through a combination of private fundraising, grant money, and volunteer efforts.

Phase 2 will begin once initial work on habitat restoration and master planning is underway. During this section of the work, we will establish walking paths and introduce infrastructure like seating areas, picnic tables, access to drinking water, and restrooms. Once these basic facilities are in place, we will design and build informational kiosks and begin work on a way-finding system, and educational and interpretive signage. This will allow the public to better understand the restoration process and specifics about plants, wildlife, and land stewardship principles.

Phase 3 will introduce art into the landscape. Huru, a significant sculpture by the internationally renowned artist Mark di Suvero will be brought to the south-eastern edge of the property. Huru was built by Mark and his team at his Petaluma studio. It will be on long-term loan from a local family. Huru will anchor future art-related activities at the park in that it will attract other artists and appreciators to the site. As the landscape grows and changes, so will the art. It will be a high quality, low volume approach. Eventually, the park can support other art forms and a diverse population of local and non-local artists and viewers. The addition of an amphitheater will allow us to include performance opportunities.

Phase 4 will focus on public outreach. With the establishment of pathways, signage, seating areas, and basic facilities, we will be able to invite school groups to visit the park and begin connecting the project to their curriculum. We will initiate docent-led tours as well as volunteer and stewardship opportunities, inviting participants to become active partners in the project. We will also welcome passive recreational uses such as kite flying, small craft docking, picnics, dog walking, informal field games, hiking, and bird watching. Some will come for the views, some for the art or exercise. Whatever the reason, we hope to build a multi-layered opportunity that serves us all and preserves this stunning piece of land in our hometown.

Reference for Solutions to Protect and Restore McNear Peninsula
(Borrowed from the City of Petaluma: McNear Peninsula Habitat Restoration Project and Petaluma River Access and Enhancement Plan)

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Petaluma River Park Foundation’s first and most urgent goal is to buy this land and ensure that it remains a publicly-accessible open space. An anonymous donor provided the funds to make a down payment and launch the park initiative. We have until the end of March 2020 to complete the purchase. Then, we need to raise the remainder of our $5 million dollar budget so we can start the restoration and build. We know our aim is ambitious, but it is vitally important to reclaim and preserve this rare piece of land for our community. With your help (and a bit of luck) we can do this together. Learn more about how you can contribute here.

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Let’s build a park.


Petaluma River Park Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations and local government grants for funding. The Foundation’s TAX ID number is 84-2431277. Any goods or services provided by Petaluma River Park in exchange for gifts are insignificant under guidelines provided by the IRS, unless purchasing event tickets or specifically stated on your tax-receipt letter.