County of Marin - News Releases - Roy's Redwoods Restoration

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2017

Redwood Preserve Subject of Restoration Effort

Collaborative study targets jewel of San Geronimo Valley, Roy’s Redwoods

San Rafael, CA – Marin County Parks is taking steps to invest local Measure A tax funds to restore a treasured grove of redwood trees and its surrounding ecosystem in the San Geronimo Valley.

Scenic view of Roys Redwoods Open Space Preserve, with large trees in foreground and hills and sky in backgroundRoy's Redwoods Open Space Preserve was first designated for protection in 1978.

On January 31, the Marin County Open Space District Board of Directors will consider an agreement between Parks and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy that would initiate planning for the restoration of the 293-acre Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve. Roy’s Redwoods, just north of the village of San Geronimo, is a picturesque landscape of valley grasslands, seasonal creeks and towering trees on the northern edge of the Mount Tamalpais watershed.

With a $49,375 initial planning budget, the conservancy will analyze site conditions and study hydrology, vegetation and visitor patterns of the preserve, which features trees that nearly match the height of those in the internationally known Muir Woods National Monument just a few miles to the south. The agreement is funded by Measure A, a quarter-cent retail transactions and use tax approved in November 2012 to care for Marin’s existing parks and open spaces, support regional community parks, and further farmland protection.

Moderate visitation and an unplanned network of trails at Roy’s Redwoods have resulted in excessive trampling, soil compaction and a compromised creek system. Compacted soil conditions prevent new plant regeneration, which could have negative implications for the long-term health of the redwood forest.

Historically the stream waters of Larson Creek flow through the redwood grove downstream to spawning grounds for coho salmon. However this ecologically important tributary of San Geronimo Creek has been redirected by roadways and private development. The result is an erratic system of ephemeral creeks that needs to be assessed to identify feasible restoration improvements.

“We plan to use science to shape our planning and ensure this treasure stands for future generations,” said Mischon Martin, Parks’ Chief of Natural Resources and Science. “The information we gather will guide restoration planning and engage the community in planning the project. To do that, we’re going to conduct several workshops with subject-matter experts, stakeholders and local residents for the purpose of collecting and sharing information.”

The partnership’s goal is to identify opportunities and constraints to restoration and habitat enhancement measures within the preserve, to plan sustainable trail access for visitors, and to improve hydrologic functions of the creek system.

First designated for protection in 1978, the quiet and majestic preserve is host to a multitude of wildlife species, including the endangered northern spotted owl. Massive sword and wood ferns dot the hillside underneath the canopy of redwoods. Roy’s Redwoods, named after the pioneering Roy family, became one of Marin’s most beloved nature preserves.

The collaboration between Parks and the conservancy is a priority project according to the Tamalpais Land Collaborative work plan. Parks works in conjunction with the conservancy, the Marin Municipal Water District, California State Parks, and the National Park Service to unite resources and holistically care for areas within the Mt. Tam watershed.

Parks staff plans to release the workshop schedule and overall project timeline at a later date. 


Tori Bohlen
Resource Specialist
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-5082
Email: Tori Bohlen
Marin County Parks website