Rancho Mark West

With accessible pathways and proximity to Santa Rosa, Rancho Mark West is our outdoor classroom, community hub, and place of refuge in the Mayacamas Mountains. Rancho Mark West is open to the public for LandPaths’ outings and once-a-month open access days at the preserve. Pre-registration is always required.

And while we are super excited about the future Mark West Creek Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, Rancho Mark West is not the same place. We’ve had some confusion lately! Go to Sonoma County Regional Parks to learn more about that project.

  • Send your kids to Owl Camp, our summer and winter nature-based camps.
  • Marvel at steelhead trout in the pristine headwaters of Mark West Creek.
  • Immerse in the oak woodlands.
  • Gather with friends old and new for a barn concert or holiday gathering.
  • Volunteer to help tend the community garden and the trails that wind through diverse habitats.

Rancho Mark West is located on the ancestral home of the Mishewal people and the Southern Pomo people – past, present, and future. We recognize them as the first people and the first stewards of this land. We are on occupied territory and acknowledge the ongoing devastation of colonization. 

How to Get Involved 

You are warmly invited to join LandPaths at Rancho Mark West. The property currently hosts hundreds of children a year through Owl Camp and IOOBY

  • Join us for a seasonal or holiday gathering.
  • Register for a public outing on the land.
  • Volunteer to do stewardship in the organic garden or on the land. 
  • Become an Owl Camp or IOOBY volunteer.


Rancho Mark West is located on the ancestral territory of the Southern Pomo people and the Wappo people, who have lived and thrived in this region since time immemorial.

In 1840, Mark West acquired the Rancho San Miguel land grant which included 6,663 acres between the Mark West and Santa Rosa Creeks. To learn more about the history of Mark West in the area, explore this page on the Mark West Chamber of Commerce site.

Jim and Betty Doerksen purchased Rancho Mark West in 1967. The Doerksens have worked tirelessly, planting upwards of “one million trees,” according to Jim. They also started the Doerksen Christmas Tree Farm – once a favorite holiday tradition for many families throughout the Bay Area. 

In 1998, Jim and Betty graciously opened up the land to LandPaths, and other environmental and school groups. 

Jim and Betty Doerksen originally sold the development rights to the property to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District in 1993. LandPaths, with generous assistance from the California Coastal Conservancy, purchased Rancho Mark West in 2011. Under the purchase terms, Jim and Betty Doerkson, have a reserved life estate on the property. The 124-acre Rancho Mark West builds upon a legacy of protecting land from development in the sensitive environmental area while offering the public more opportunities to engage with nature a short distance away from Santa Rosa .LandPaths and the Doerksens participate in this land ownership partnership as a way to love the land and engage the public forever, especially local children, through outings and outdoor education.  

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