Petaluma’s Shollenberger Park, opened in 1995, has long been a popular spot for nature lovers. And it continues to grow more enticing. An adjoining trail cut along Alman Marsh and stretching to Petaluma’s Marina was added in 2003; the Petaluma Marsh trails were opened in the summer of 2009, adding length and variety to a hike through this birder’s paradise.
With the addition of the Petaluma Marsh trails, which run around a state-of-the-art recycled water project, the area now comprises 250 acres of wetlands. And in this peaceful place, where dogs on leash are welcome, there is much to appreciate.
The wildlife is ever changing. All manner of birds—150 species, according to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, are the stars here. Depending on the season, you might see thousands of Canadian geese waddling in and out of the water or bulrushes afire with red winged blackbirds. The variety is stunning: ducks, hawks, doves, hummingbirds, grebes, terns, plovers and sandpipers—the list goes on. Mammals such as jack rabbits, pocket gophers and river otters also thrive in this environment.