Sonoma County logoThe Sonoma County Board of Directors of the Open Space District today announced the appointment of Caryl Hart, the former Director of Sonoma County Regional Parks, to serve as interim general manager of the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District.

Hart will manage the district while the Board of Directors oversees a nationwide search for a new general manager to succeed Bill Keene, who recently stepped down after serving in the position for 11 years. The search is due to begin in early January and is expected to be completed by the end of April. Hart will begin her service on Dec. 1, 2020.

A longtime resident of Sebastopol, Caryl Hart, Ph.D., is an attorney who comes to the position with more than 25 years of advocacy, scholarship and administrative experience. She served for 13 years as a member of the California State Parks Commission, including seven years as Chair. In 2014, Dr. Hart was appointed by then-Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the Parks Forward Commission to assist in forming a sustainable path forward for the California State Park System. From 2010 to 2017, she served as Director of Sonoma County Regional Parks.

Dr. Hart earned her undergraduate degree at Cornell University, her law degree from the University of San Francisco Law School and her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in Environmental Science – Policy and Management.

The Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District was created in 1990 through a voter-authorized quarter-cent sales tax used to fund the protection and preservation of open space areas including. Over the past 30 years, the District, sometimes in partnership with other agencies, has preserved more than 120,000 acres of land in Sonoma County, including agricultural lands, community separators, scenic corridors, recreational spaces and natural wildlife habitat.

The new general manager will oversee a staff of 29 people and an annual budget of roughly $55 million. For more information about the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, go to