Business Environmental Challenge at Rancho Mark West

Business Environmental Challenge at Rancho Mark West

Rancho Mark West creek smallRancho Mark West BarnRancho Mark West Bridge - Gary HundtHidden Valley . RMW. Watershed . 3.2.11 044Rancho Mark West canoe

Click here for a few photos of the property and programming

LandPaths is thrilled to kickoff a partnership with the Business Environmental Challenge ("BEC")! 

Beginning with a volunteer workday on February 8th, the BEC will adopt Rancho Mark West and help LandPaths move toward a vision of a vibrant nature center at this beautiful 120+ acre property.


Business Environmental Challenge Volunteer Workday at Rancho Mark West

Volunteer projects may include:

  • Further development of hiking trails, including erosion control and GPS mapping;
  • Work on historic barn;
  • Seasonal upkeep of the garden;
  • Light forestry for use in on-site projects.

Longer term plans and potential projects include:

  • Development of solar power for the ranch;
  • Layout, design and construction of green infrastructure to serve the ranch’s educational, camp and overnight accomodations for youth, families and adults. 

BEC participants will be able to learn more about LandPaths various programs including permits for use on open lands across the county, hikes/paddles and other trips including overnight trekking, its Bayer Farm and Gardens in Roseland and LandPaths own system of lands it owns in fee throughout Sonoma County.

At the conclusion of our work, LandPaths will provide beverages to toast the beginning of the Business Environmental Challenge partnership.  


  • Work gloves;
  • Layered clothing - some will be working in sun, others in shade;
  • GPS Unit (if you have one and use it regularly);
  • Snacks;
  • Favorite travel mug for beverages;
  • If you have a favorite tool for trail, garden, and ranch work, please bring it. We also have a full forestry shop of tools available.


Friday, February 8 - 1pm start time.  We'll be done by about 4pm to enjoy some refreshments.

Rancho Mark West, 7125 St. Helena Road, northeast of Santa Rosa.

From Santa Rosa: take Highway 12 towards Sonoma and go left at Calistoga Road. Take Calistoga Road 3.3 miles up and over a short grade (approx. 5 minutes from intersection with Highway 12). Turn right at St. Helena Road. 7125 St. Helena Road is approximately 2.6 miles from the intersection with Calistoga Road. You will know you are almost there when you emerge into a clearing of Christmas Trees on the right. Turn right into the driveway where you will see camp staff directing you to parking. Allow 20-25 minutes from downtown Santa Rosa.


Rancho Mark West is an historic 122-acre ranch just 9 miles east of Santa Rosa originally built by General Vallejo’s men in the mid 1800’s and which has been used for over 40 years by the community. While close to Santa Rosa, the property is a spectacular mix of historic barns and pasture, mountain stream with boulders shaded by redwoods and alder forest.

In 2012, LandPaths purchased a remainder interest in the property, formerly known as Jim and Betty Doerksen’s Christmas Tree Farm. The Doerksens and LandPaths now work closely to transform the property into a nature center and preserve accessible by our community forever. Because of proximity to both urban Santa Rosa and the county-owned Saddle Mountain Open Space Preserve, school children from Santa Rosa will some day be able to walk from their schools to the ranch to stay the night.

Through the generous spirit of the Doerksens, since 1999 LandPaths has used the ranch as the primary site for its environmental education program, “In Our Own Backyard,” serving over 1000 children annually (with 4 visits for each child throughout the year). A nature-based summer camp for local kids has operated successfully for the past three summers, utilitizing the developing hiking trail system and ranch roads, pond for canoeing and farm produce garden adjacent to the barn. 

Posted at 11:22


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