Parks and Open Space are for Everyone
Protect Conservation and Community Planning Values
In 2017, the Trust For Public Land (TPL) acquired 157-acres of land in the center of the San Geronimo Valley near the villages of Woodacre, San Geronimo, Forest Knolls, and Lagunitas with the intention of transferring ownership to Marin County Parks and Open Space to create a new public land preserve. The property was acquired after an independent, expert financial analysis indicated the golf course was unlikely to survive at the location, so rapid action was needed to ensure the community could continue to benefit from the land and influence its future use.
The property was previously the San Geronimo Golf Course, an 18-hole public course that was originally constructed in 1965, intended for use as a private course in the hopes that the 1961 Marin County Wide Plan to construct 5,000 homes and support a population of 20,000 would be developed. In 1972, a new County Wide Plan was adopted that prevented massive urban development in San Geronimo Valley, preserving its mostly rural character. Ultimately, the golf course was unsuccessful in selling enough memberships to support the course and soon converted to a public course that remained the primary use of the property until it was listed for sale in 2017.
Following the County’s actions to authorize the purchase of the property from TPL, a golf advocacy group, the San Geronimo Advocates filed a lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that delayed public planning efforts and eliminated the County’s ability to acquire grant funding for the purchase. Marin County Superior Court ordered Marin County to complete CEQA prior to authorizing the purchase of the property, ultimately, resulting in the Marin County Board of Supervisors reversing their resolution to purchase the property.
Trust for Public Land
Announces Plan for Future of Property
May 17, 2019 the Trust for Public Land, along with community leaders, a retired fire battalion chief and representatives of local and national conservation groups announced a new beginning for a landmark San Geronimo Valley property in West Marin.
The press conference was held at the Miwok Trailhead, the site of TPL’s founding project, the prevention of the Marincello development. “Marincello, the ill-fated 2,100-acre development in the Marin Headlands, that would have been sandwiched between forts Cronkhite, Barry and Baker and the city of Sausalito….The community, which would have housed 25,000 people, was defeated in the face of intense opposition that helped solidify Marin’s environmental movement.”
TPL proposes an enhanced community engagement process to develop a plan for the property. The process will begin this summer and activities will include tours, visioning workshops and pop-up events. More information is available at www.ReimagineSanGeronimo.com.
The opportunities that the property will provide include:
New and enhanced public access for all for recreation, education and community gathering.
Connectivity to over 100,000 acres of protected lands from the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate National Recreation Area to Point Reyes National Seashore.
Comprehensive fire safety, including the ideal site for a new fire station, staging for emergency response, emergency refuge for West Marin residents, and proactive fuels management.
Restoration of the Bay Area’s last great salmon run.
Multi-use recreational and community facility with amenities including a restored community gathering place.
EAC SUPPORTS THE CREATION OF A Public preserve and open space that will have a WIDE RANGe of ECOLOGICAL AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS
EAC strongly supports the conservation and restoration of the former golf course property and its transition into a public preserve and open space that has a wide range of ecological and community benefits. Creation of public lands and support for maximum acquisition of public lands by federal, state, and county parks is a foundational element of EAC.
The conversion of the property to a public preserve and open space that restores and conserves habitat creates several ecological benefits for the upper watershed of Lagunitas Creek and Tomales Bay watershed that will improve endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout habitats and water quality; minimize and/or eliminate the use of fertilizers and pesticides; save water; protect migratory birds, threatened status species like the Northern Spotted Owl, and other native plants and animals; and result in additional tree plantings.
Restoration of creek and floodplain habitats will capture sediments, particles, and pollutants that will result in improved downstream water quality, thus improving habitat. Restoration to the riparian corridor by planting native species will improve the health and populations of migratory and nesting birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and other native wildlife. These efforts will also result in the long-term sequestration of carbon.
The creation of a public park within the heart of the San Geronimo Valley provides several new opportunities for community use and public safety. The property can be used for several community public access benefits like bicycling, walking, dog walking, picnicking, birdwatching, photography, and exploration.
The property is uniquely positioned and borders the San Geronimo Valley Community Center, middle school, and elementary schools. Utilizing the existing pathways on the property for pedestrian and bicycle traffic will remove children from the high traffic, small shoulder of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. In addition, the Community Center, middle school, and elementary schools could utilize the network of pathways for safe access for increased educational opportunities to access Roy’s Redwoods Marin County Open Space Preserve and other areas of San Geronimo Valley for activities including field trips and exercise.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR A PARK
More than 20 local organizations including environmental and community groups have supported the conversion of the property to a public preserve and open space.
Page last updated: May 19, 2019