Russian River
News From Northwest Sonoma County
August 18, 2006

Board Announces Launch of EcoRing

(Armstrong Woods) Amidst the towering redwoods of Armstrong Woods State Park the Board of Directors of the recently formed EcoRing signed the second of two initial professional contracts triggering the launch of this highly anticipated regional eco- friendly tourism and community initiative.

Coming just months after the county’s core funding was approved in April by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors through the Russian River Redevelopment Project, the program, which has been in development for nearly three years, first received the support and recommendation for approval from the Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee, where community outreach and review are focused.

“It is the mission of EcoRing to ignite a vibrant eco tourism community with participation from residents, business, local governments and visitors in the Russian River area. To this end EcoRing will facilitate the development of eco-friendly tours, events, lodging, dining, farm products and appropriate transportation by others for the Lower Russian River area while educating and aiding businesses, residents and visitors to act responsibly toward the environment.

The goal is to increase eco-tourism by marketing the lower Russian River as an eco-tourism destination. EcoRing will green local business and organizations by providing information and incentives for positive change.”
(The above quote is taken from EcoRing’s Mission and Goals statement)

Two contracts have been signed that signal the start of a number of core activities. The first is with the well regarded Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods for naturalist and cultural programs and development of Eco-Adventures and the second is with the innovative LITE Initiatives for eco-education.

Stewards’ Executive Director Michele Luna says “Our group is very excited to be working with EcoRing to help educate our residents, business owners, and visitors about the importance of preserving our natural and cultural resources. The Eco-Adventures that Stewards develops will provide recreational enjoyment, inspiration, and a sense of stewardship for our cultural and natural resource heritage. We invite other activity providers to help us create a diverse, sustainable program.” (

Those interested in joining Stewards to provide enticing activities in the Russian River area are invited to attend one of two meetings scheduled for September 21st at 10:00am at the Stewards office or on September 26th at 7pm at the Guerneville Library.

“We are really looking forward to getting started” says Portia Sinnott, Executive Director of LITE. “The EcoRing Eco-education series is designed to involve the entire community in the project while teaching residents, business people, local groups and visitors simple sensible practices that will lessen their day to day impact on our environment. The Fall ’06 schedule, which will be released in September, will include a series of community wide forums, meetings and workshops plus the expansion of the volunteer green team and the resource library. Businesses interested in becoming certified as a Sonoma County Green business and eventually an EcoRing business should plan to come to the October workshop”. (

"The Sonoma County Tourism Bureau has just released the 2006/2007 Marketing Plan which clearly identifies ecology tourism or eco tourism as a key vertical/niche market,” said Sonoma County Tourism Board President and CEO, Ken Fischang. “EcoRing supports the SCTB's goals to develop a specific plan to incorporate the natural assets and features of Sonoma Country with visitor interest which will in turn generate overnight lodging stays." (

“This is a landmark move,” said Chamber of Commerce Board President Toni Tacoma. “It was accomplished in record time, for this sort of complex, multi-dimensional planning, and will be a cornerstone of our best efforts to promote the region locally, statewide, nationally and internationally,” she continued. “We’re a world class wine region, with so much more.” (

“The official California state visitor centers serve more than 1 million visitors annually and one of the most frequent visitor requests is for state parks, This also holds true at the Santa Rosa Welcome Center, where we serve over 60,000 visitors per year and direct thousands of people to the Armstrong Woods State Park and the activities in the Russian River. It’s a natural for visitors,” said Mo Renfro, Director of the California Welcome Center in Santa Rosa and EcoRing Board member. “People think more than ever about how we all care for the natural wonders along our historic coastal, redwood, vineyard and river regions”. (

“EcoRing can have a hugely positive effect on our community” said Board member, Lynette McLean, a co-owner of Highlands Resort who is also on the board of the LGBT Tourism Guild – another RRR Project-backed effort. “They focus on what we already have in this beautiful, classic area, and help us convey these appealing elements to an even wider audience.” (

Scott Mitchell, a new member of the EcoRing group, is a representative appointed from his position on The Chamber of Commerce Board. The co-chair of the May Big Spring Clean-Up, Mitchell says “this is a lot like that successful eight day, region-wide clean-up. We built on what people were already doing, added new elements and then communicated – that is, promoted the heck out of each part of it. People came together and it was an overwhelming success. We consider that success connected to this emerging program.” (

As co-chair, with Mitchell, of the Russian River Food and Winefest, restaurant consultant Clark Wolf is an early and strong supporter of EcoRing. “We were thrilled to write the first check from funds collected at our Russian River Food and Winefest in 2004. It’s wonderful to see this all coming together. We intend to continue our strong support.” (

EcoRing is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization in the state of California.

# # #

EcoRing Advisors: EcoRing Board Members:

Michele Luna: Darrell Sukovitzen:
(707) 869 9177 Lynette McLean:
Michael Stusser:
Portia Sinnott: Mo Renfro:
Scott Mitchell:
(707) 829 2324 Shaun Shields: Toni Tacoma:

Other Participants:

Clark Wolf:

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