Sausalito Highlands Now Part of Open Space Sausalito

Sausalito's Open Space

Sausalito’s Open Space Addition

For over twenty years there has been a debate in Sausalito over a 2-acre parcel of land that is now part of Open Space Sausalito. This was the largest parcel of zoned residential, undeveloped property in the city. Zoned for mulit-family dwelling and located between Lincoln and Butte Streets abutting Highway 101, this land has been attractive to both developers and affordable housing advocates. Also active in the debate were area neighbors. They enjoy the open space and the enrichment it adds to their lives. There are also frequent visitors and inhabitants here that often have no voice in these debates and in this instance, it was their voice that carried the most weight.

Area wildlife have discovered in this small slice of undeveloped land, an important refuge. Biologist Jennifer Berry used motion-detection cameras to record wildlife traveling to the property in search of water. It was determined that this small parcel has one of 2 area riparian zones running through it is connected to other area open spaces.  Waldo Creek is a year-round waterway and feeds into the Bay. It is also documented in U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wetlands Inventory. As a natural waterway, it is the lifeline for grey fox, squirrel, deer, and other area wildlife. There are also numerous resident and migratory bird species such as owl, quail, red-tailed hawk, and falcons who frequent this small haven.

Butte Street Task Force was formed and mandated to examine the available options and make recommendations to the city of Sausalito as a means to resolve the issue. In 2014 they recommended that the city find a land trust to buy the land and keep it as open space. In 2016 Open Space Sausalito came up with $225,000 to purchase half the property from the Hunt Family Trust — fueled in part by an $82,000. grant from the Transportation Authority of Marin and Caltrans. These funds were made available as a mitigation project to compensate for work elsewhere that affected the environment.

Marin Open Space Trust played a key backup role in the preservation of the Sausalito property. Early in the local efforts to preserve the property, MOST provided technical support to the neighbors who were organizing to purchase the land to prevent its development.  Later in the acquisition process, MOST offered to hold a conservation easement and accept responsibility for its permanent preservation as open space to satisfy the City’s requirement for additional assurance  that the property would remain undeveloped. By providing the means to meet these requirements, the city has now transferred its interest in the parcel to the local non-profit, Open Space Sausalito.



Makin Grade Purchase in San Rafael

New Open Space in San Rafael

San Rafael’s New Open Space


The Makin Grade Purchase in San Rafael was made by Marin Open Space Trust, with the support of generous neighbors. Two undeveloped lots on a wooded hillside in San Rafael are now part of San Rafael’s public open space, Oakwood Open Space.
Initially spearheaded by area residents Bill Carney and Tamra Peters, the $399,000 acquisition was funded from neighborhood donations and negotiated by Marin Open Space Trust. We are dedicating the land at no cost to the city. This land will be added to an existing 33 acres of city-owned open space situated at the end of Greenwood Avenue in the Gerstle Park neighborhood, south of downtown, straddling the Ross border.

Initially, there had been concerns by San Rafael council members due to an unwritten policy regarding the acceptance of land — and it was feared they would reject the offer because of concerns of liability and maintenance. The overwhelming community support for the move influenced the council’s decision, Mayor Gary Phillips said.

The terms negotiated by Marin Open Space Trust have set the standard for future negotiations regarding land acquisitions. “I think we have made out a template going forward if we are going to consider in the future such dedications,” he said. “This is the dedication that proves the exception.”, said Councilman Andrew McCullough after the vote.

The two 1.5-acre lots are part of the Oakwood subdivision made up of 45 residential parcels, established in the mid-1980s. A graded trail runs from the street through the adjoining properties to the Oakwood Open Space and follows the historic route of the old San Rafael-Bolinas stagecoach line.

Carney and Peters, who live across from the trail, wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the wooded area and contacted the Marin Open Space Trust. They collected 175 signatures through a petition. The Marin Conservation League, San Rafael Heritage, the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods and others also added their support to the petition.

The sale is in escrow until January 2017.

Fairfax Open Space Committee Fundraising Event Dec. 11

Olive and the Dirty Martinis

The Town of Fairfax Open Space Committee (FOSC), in collaboration with James Redford’s rock band, Olive and the Dirty Martinis, will hold a benefit fundraiser at the 19 Broadway Nightclub in Fairfax on Friday night, December 11.

The benefit music performance begins at 9 p.m. and is for ages 21 and over.  Performance tickets are $25 each.  For more information about the venue and performance advance ticket sales, visit the nightclub’s website at

In addition, there will be a valuable raffle prize package provided that evening from James Redford with tickets selling for $20 each or three tickets for $50.  Raffle tickets will be sold at the event, but anyone wanting to purchase raffle tickets in advance, or wants more information, may email to: .

This special raffle prize package has been donated by Sundance Resort in Utah (founded by Robert Redford) and offered by his son, James Redford.  The package is valid for one year and includes:

  • Round-trip coach airfare for two on Southwest
  • Two-night stay for two in a Sundance Utah Resort suite.  (The resort black-out dates are holidays and during the Sundance Film Festival.)
  • Two adult, all-day lift tickets per day
  • Dinner for two in the Foundry Grill (two courses, not including gratuity or alcohol)

This benefit event is partially to celebrate this year’s successful $1.2 million acquisition of the 16-acre Sky Ranch for the Marin County Open Space District.  The property, above San Anselmo and Fairfax, was purchased by the Marin Open Space Trust with help from the San Anselmo and Fairfax open space committees.  Olive and the Dirty Martinis, with a July 2014 fundraiser, helped provide a sizeable portion of the funding for the Sky Ranch acquisition.

The Fairfax Open Space Committee exists to preserve the visual and environmental values of the community through the purchase of undeveloped land in and around Fairfax.  For more information about FOSC, please visit the Committee’s website at

Download the poster.

MOST Recognized by the Marin Conservation League

Awarded “The Marin Green Award for Environmental Leadership”

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The Marin Green Award for Environmental Leadership, which Marin Open Space Trust received from Marin Conservation League has been given annually since 1981. Each year an individual or organization is selected who has shown outstanding contributions to preserving and protecting the natural assets of Marin County. MOST was recognized as “An innovative and effective land trust spearheading acquisition and preservation of open space lands in Marin County.”

We want to thank the Marin Conservation League for their recognition and look forward to continuing our service to the people of Marin. This honor was also acknowledged by the California State Assembly and State Senate. We are proud of the commitment by residents of this county and the conservation efforts they take on to help insure the quality of life we enjoy now, for generations to come.

Campaign to Restore Sky Ranch

Following a broadly supported and successful $1.2 million fundraising effort, MOST has purchased the 16-acre Sky Ranch next to Bald Hill Open Space Preserve in Fairfax and San Anselmo. We are making good progress with a campaign to raise an additional $120,000 to help restore the property – but we are not finished yet! We have $5000.00 left to in order to meet our commitment. We have transferred the property to Marin County Open Space and it can now be permanently protected from development. The funds will assist in returning it to it’s natural beauty.

The Ranch had many deteriorating and collapsing old buildings and still has significant erosion in the area of the former stables. Dust in summer and sediment runoff in winter into Corte Madera Creek watershed are resulting impacts.

The dangerous structures have been removed but extensive restoration is still needed to stabilize the soil, remove invasive species and re-vegetate barren areas. Not only will the work return the land to its natural beauty but it will also make it safe and attractive for recreational day use by everyone in Marin, including equestrians.

We still need to raise $5,000 to completely fund the restoration. Please show your support with a donation now so this work can be finished.

Make a tax deductible donation to Marin Open Space. Together we will continue to preserve Marin’s beauty and open spaces. You can do it online, or you can also donate by sending a check to MOST, P.O. Box 4133, San Rafael, CA 94913.

Make an online donation.Donate to MOST

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Sky Ranch Purchase
Save Sky Ranch

Visualizations after restoration thanks to Marin County Parks.

Thank-you Marin: the Sky Ranch Purchase is Complete

[slideshow_deploy id=’619′]Photos: Georgia Gibbs

The purchase of Sky Ranch has been completed! This was a big undertaking and countless members of our Marin ‘family’ have touched this project, helping to insure it’s success.

This is just the first leg of the journey and while there is more to be done, we want to pause and celebrate the many people who committed financially and/or with their time.

While everyone who assisted was an important part of this effort, special recognition and thanks is extended to Supervisor Katie Rice for her vital support. To our community groups; this would not have ever been anything more than wishful thinking without your time and/or financial support. Thank you:

  • Town of Fairfax
  • Town of San Anselmo
  • Marin Municipal Water District
  • San Anselmo Open Space Committee
  • MOST
  • California Wildlife Foundation
  • Tamalpais Conservation Club

To the 175 individual donors; we extend our sincere gratitude and joy in your commitment to Marin’s future. And last, but not least, our thanks goes to our passionate advocates; your voice helped keep the project on tract in your communities.

This addition to Marin’s green belt will not only enhance our community but it’s restoration will bring a delicate eco system back into balance, insuring that ‘wild country’ will be available for future generations to enjoy and benefit from. To this end, we will be working to bring this habitat back to it’s natural state. (Until that work has been completed the property will remain closed.)  Check back or sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date on our progress.

Please help us to reinvigorate this beautiful addition to Marin’s open space with a donation. All donations are welcomed, helpful and tax deductible. Together we will continue to preserve Marin’s beauty and open spaces. You can donate online, or by sending a check to MOST, P.O. Box 4133, San Rafael, California 94913.

Make an online donation.

Donate to MOST



Read more about this news in the Sky Ranch in the Ross Valley Reporter.

Save Sky Ranch