For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 25, 2017
Purchase would expand greenbelt, help protect threatened species
San Rafael, CA – The owners of the San Geronimo Golf Course decided to look for a buyer earlier this year, and the County of Marin is interested in acquiring the 157-acre property with the help of a national nonprofit conservation organization to preserve critical wildlife habitat and recreational land.
The nonprofit The Trust for Public Land has signed an agreement to acquire the property for $8.85 million with plans to transfer ownership to the County. Marin County Parks’ goal would be to save the property from future bids for commercial development and restore its extensive natural habitat into a greenbelt linking the San Geronimo Valley’s rural villages.
The County’s decision to acquire the property would be considered at a future meeting and would require the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ approval in an open public session. The Trust for Public Land agreement does not commit the County to purchase the property.
The County’s long-term vision would be to convert the course into public open space or a park and repurpose the structures and facilities on the property for community uses. Parks is interested in retaining the extensive network of pathways to better connect the valley’s communities and to improve linkages to the nearby open space preserves and beyond.
The Parks department anticipates that an agreement between the trust and the County could be brought before the Board of Supervisors within the next two months. The trust would then would work with the County to raise funds from local, state and philanthropic sources to complete the conveyance of the property from trust to the County.
Protection of wildlife is a key motivation for the purchase. Critical habitat for the endangered Central Coast Coho and threatened steelhead salmon are within property boundaries. Restoration of San Geronimo and Larsen creeks, together with their riparian and upland corridors, would help the fragile salmon populations thrive at birth and provide a safe spawning ground to return to as adults.
“This opportunity would be the capstone of a multigenerational effort to preserve San Geronimo Valley’s rural character and magnificent natural resources,” said Parks Director Max Korten.
District 4 Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, who represents the San Geronimo area, added, “The parcel buffers the villages of Woodacre, San Geronimo, and Forest Knolls, preserving their identity and rural character. We have big hopes that the potential purchase of this property could be a win-win-win, where the fish, the valley’s residents, and the people of Marin all secure a brighter future in line with our shared values and way of life.”
“We are proud to partner with Marin County on a truly landmark opportunity to protect a treasured community resource,” said Dave Sutton, California Conservation Director for The Trust for Public Land. “Working together, we have an unprecedented opportunity to connect people with nature in a way that defines life in San Geronimo Valley and throughout Marin.”
If the County acquires the property, County staff would engage the San Geronimo Valley community in a collaborative discussion about restoration, preservation, recreation, and community facilities over the long term. The Trust for Public Land and the County are seeking a partner who can continue operating the golf course and clubhouse through fall 2019. In the meantime, volunteers would continue accessing the adjacent community garden, which may be expanded over time in coordination with the larger restoration effort.
The Trust for Public Land was founded in Marin County more than 45 years ago and creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org.
Parks has published more information about the golf course acquisition on its website.
Max KortenDirectorMarin County Parks
Marin Civic CenterSuite 260San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 342-5914Email: Max Kortenwww.marincountyparks.org