Sonoma County law enforcement cut down about 3,000 marijuana plants this week from public land near Glen Ellen, sheriff’s officials said.
The illegal cannabis farm was found hidden on about a half-acre in the Calabazas Creek Open Space Preserve, a 1,285-acre ranch north of Glen Ellen along the border with Napa County, according to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.
The preserve is not open to the public, and a volunteer trained to patrol the property spotted evidence of the marijuana farm earlier this spring. Hidden under canopy cover, rows of immature marijuana plants were growing on a wooded hillside, said Sheri Emerson, stewardship program manager. They were being fed by a system of irrigation lines.
District staff members returned Wednesday with eight deputies, members of the sheriff’s SWAT team, to destroy the garden. They also found a campsite but no one was there.
The marijuana farm is the only one found on district property so far this year, Emerson said. Last fall, an ecologist found evidence of a 1,000-plant marijuana garden on the former on the former Cresta Ranch — part of the future Mark West Creek Regional Park — but the plants had already been harvested.