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Petaluma is my home at the top of San Pablo (San Fransciso) Bay. This small city of 60,000 still retains the remnants of the agricultural life and yet enjoys a close proximity to the vibrant San Francisco. The big trees and coastal mountains immediately to the north are a comfort for one who longs to keep a strong link to wild lands and rural community. (continued below)

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Petaluma River

Petaluma River

Petaluma Mill

St Vincents Church

Historic Library

Yachts in Turning Basin

Old River Warehouses

Old River Warehouses

Cloudy Bend
Petaluma River

West Petaluma Hills
Petaluma Valley from Sonoma Mountain

One of the sadnesses here, like in many places, is the ongoing loss of natural areas for ourselves and fellow critters. The world famous salmon and steelhead fisheries entwined with our north coast rivers are down to pitiful levels of survival. Europeans came here in 1775 and the transformation of the area has been poignant. Early witnesses said that the waterfowl would blacken the sky in the spring and fall of the year with their incomprehensible abundance.

Even so, Petaluma is a beautiful place to live. The 4,000 acre marsh surrounding the tidal estuary (Petaluma River), and the surrounding hills and mountains created through tectonic forces are a refuge for vigorous natural communities which keep us sane and healthy. The hills, moderate scale, and historical buildings are widely appreciated and protected by an active and dynamic community.

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All images ©Scott Hess