Marin Open Space Trust’s Board of Directors

Marin Open Space Trust’s Board of Directors come from all areas of Marin and diverse backgrounds but each share one goal: to preserve Marin’s greenbelt. They each generously commit their expertise, time and passion. Their actions benefit Marin and the Bay Area residents today and for the generations yet to come.

The following individuals are active on the Board of Directors.

Bill Long – Chair

“Preserving and enjoying Marin’s open space has been my passion ever since I arrived here almost 40 years ago.”

Bill Long is a retired engineer from Novato who has a very extensive background in public service, having volunteered his time and energies over the years to many worthwhile causes, including working on the ballot measure that successfully created the Marin County Parks and Open Space District in 1972, and having served on its Commission since 1999. Bill also serves as Chair of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and is a board member of the San Francisco Bay Trail. Bill is a lifelong sailor, avid hiker and Boy Scout leader.

David Hansen – Vice Chair

“Securing funding to protect the final lands and complete the dream of a permanent greenbelt in Marin County can be done with MOST’s leadership.”

David Hansen recently retired from a 33 year career preserving and managing over 70,000 acres of open space and farmland in the Bay Area. He worked for the Marin County Open Space District, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. David was a co-founder and Board member of The Bay Area Ridge Trail, the Bay Area Open Space Council, the Trail Center and Whole Access. He currently sits on the Boards of LandPaths and Friends of the Petaluma River.

Ralph Mihan – Secretary

“The preservation and recreational use of the natural resources of national parks and refuges nationally and statewide and the open space of the great County of Marin are my life long passion and commitment. The future expansion, preservation and public use of open space in Marin is a major objective of mine.”

Ralph Mihan is a life long resident of Marin who has hiked and enjoyed Marin open space and parks since early childhood. Ralph retired from a 37 year career as regional legal counsel to the Western Region of the National Park Service (62 National Parks) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (32 wildlife refuges). During his career he was involved in the acquisition of over 1 million acres of land and the management of those lands for public recreational use and preservation. He is involved in many Marin organizations, including being the Chair of the San Rafael Park and Recreation Commission (on the Commission since 1982), serving on the Board of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Point Reyes National Seashore Association.

Ann Thomas – Treasurer

“As development pressure grows it is all the more crucial to secure parkland and open space for future generations.”

Ann Thomas had an earlier career in journalism and advertising, helped raise funds for local schools when her children were students, as a director and one-time board president of the Kentfield Schools Foundation, and has been an advocate for Marin open space for the past two decades. She helped organize the campaign to save the Bahia forest and wetlands and, as a memberr of the Marin Baylands Advocates, has assisted in preservation of a number of bayland sites. Ann was a long-time member of the Kentfield Planning Advisory board and currently sits on the board of directors of the friends of Colrte Madera Creek watershed and the Marin Conservation League.

Joyce Applen – Board Member

“In my early Marin years I developed an appreciation of the glorious open spaces throughout this beautiful county hiking with Mrs. Terwilliger and several other hiking groups.”

Joyce Applen is an active conservationist. She has lived in Marin since 1967 and has been a volunteer in the preservation of open space since the early 1970’s when a citizens committee was successful in convincing Marin County voters to pass a ballot measure to create the Marin County Open Space District. As chair of the committee of the Marin Conservation League set up for the preservation of Mt. Burdell she worked with the Novato Planning staff to develop an open space plan for the entire Novato area. When serving on committees appointed by the City Council to study the reuse of Hamilton Air Force Base she joined with others who vigorously opposed commercial aviation there. The runways are now being restored as wetlands.

Joyce is a real estate broker and has been active in that profession since 1980. She has represented the Marin Baylands in their acquisition of several properties that were threatened by development.

Elizabeth Byers – Board Member

“My passion is hiking in the awe-inspiring open-space lands in Marin. I feel so fortunate to live here. Working with MOST provides me an opportunity to participate in the ongoing work of saving important places in Marin.”

Elizabeth Byers, a Mill Valley resident, has lived in Marin County for 29 years. A native northern Californian, she has worked in land conservation for decades as a project manager and writer. She was a project manager and land trust program director at The Trust for Public Land (TPL) for 16 years and a long-term consultant for The Garden Conservancy, Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, and TPL. This consulting work included co-authoring the second edition of The Conservation Easement Handbook, published by TPL and the Land Trust Alliance. She is currently updating the Bay Area Ridge Trail guidebook. Elizabeth has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UC Berkeley in environmental planning. She is a past board member of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and San Anselmo Open Space Committee.

Jonathan Braun – Board Member

“I have long believed it is vitally important to secure lands of high open space value in perpetuity for the benefit of the ecosystem and the enjoyment of present and future generations.”

Jonathan Braun is a lifetime resident of San Anselmo. He got involved with land preservation in the late 70’s when a development threatened the hilltop above his family’s home. That was the catalyst for many decades of volunteer participation in local conservation initiatives.

In 1981 Jonathan worked with a citizens group to create the San Anselmo Open Space Committee. He has been a member ever since and has been chair and co-chair for more than 21 of the committee’s 29 years. He has served in a number of capacities related to land use issues and led fundraising campaigns for the purchase of public open space. For the last four decades, he has been a potter, woodworker and classical guitarist.

Don Dickenson – Board Member

Don was born in San Francisco but has resided most of his life in Marin County, for over the 30 years in the Dominican neighborhood of San Rafael. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. Don retired at the end of 1999 after working 25 years as a city planner for local public agencies, working on such projects as the artist Christo’s “Running Fence” and film director George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch. Then for 15½ years he was the Director of Planning and Building for the City of Mill Valley.

Don has also long been active in a number of environmental organizations. He served a total of 13 years on the Board of Directors of the Marin Conservation League and was previously on the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Alliance and a member of the Executive Committee of the Marin Group of the Sierra Club. He also was a founding member and president of CAPS (Citizen Advocates for Preservation of St. Vincent’s/Silviera) and a founding member of the Save Gold Hill Committee.

Don has served on the Grand Jury and the Marin County Planning Commission since 2003 as a representative of the First District and then as an at-large Commissioner.

Steve Petterle – Board Member

“It’s not an accident that I’ve spent my career protecting watersheds, open spaces and natural areas.These areas are critical to the emotional and physical survival of the human species.”

Steve Petterle is a native Marin County resident who learned to appreciate open space in Marin County while hiking the hills above Dominican in San Rafael. Steve has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis in Environmental Planning and Management, Landscape Architect subdivision. He has been a licensed landscape architect since 1979. Steve has been involved in managing public lands for 43 years. He was Land Manager for Marin Municipal Water District from 1983 until 1990, managing its 22,000-acre watershed. After a brief stint in the public sector consulting in land/resource management and landscape architecture, he moved to the Marin County Open Space District, where he was involved in acquisition and management of open space lands. Steve retired from Marin County Parks as Principal Landscape Architect in 2020, but remains active in public service, sitting on the North Marin Water District board of directors, the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Conservancy, and the Marin Open Space Trust board.