Marin Lands at Risk

The Marin Open Space Trust is focused on protecting the county’s last 15,000 acres at risk of development.

Our preservation priorities include:

  • Recreational lands where trails can be created
  • Properties adjacent to existing open space that create open space corridors and additional access
  • Scenic, highly visible properties
  • Riparian corridors
  • Significant plant and/or animal habitats

Marin County residents are fortunate to live in a county with so much protected open space owned by federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private entities. As of 2000, 48 percent of Marin’s land was protected by public land management agencies and private partners.  Today, Marin County Parks alone manages more than 17,900 acres in 34 open space preserves and 39 parks.

The county’s land conservation dates back to the 1930s with the formation of the Marin Conservation League and establishment of Mt. Tamalpais State Park. The county created its first park and open space master plan in 1943, which guided land protection efforts over the following decades until the 1965 plan.

In 1972 county residents voted to create what is now the Marin County Open Space District, and established a funding source from property taxes. The same year, Marin County adopted its first general plan and directed future growth to eastern Marin. In 1980 the Marin Agricultural Land Trust formed to protect West Marin’s agricultural land through conservation easements.

In 2008 the county prepared the Marin County Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan. The plan identifies areas threatened by development (shown on this map). The circles highlight ten major areas and greenbelts where the county has targeted lands for preservation. As the plan states, “closing these gaps by acquiring land or employing other land conservation methods is essential to protect natural areas from development, to promote biodiversity, create wildlife corridors, and to grow and link the countywide park, open space, and trail system.”