About San Anselmo Open Space Committee
|Burning Invasive Broom|
Created in 1981, the SAOSC is a group of eleven volunteers and one student representative who are appointed by the San Anselmo Town Council to four-year terms. The Committee’s mandate is to fulfill the Open Space Element of the Town’s General Plan -- to save from development over 400 acres of greenbelts and scenic ridgelines that the Town has designated as desirable open space. If preserved from development, these lands would provide recreation, beauty, and convenient access to the natural world, and serve as wildlife corridors and natural buffers between our neighborhoods.
Primary among these lands is the sixty-acre summit of Bald Hill, the backdrop and symbol of our town. Though most residents are shocked to hear it, this majestic jewel of the Ross Valley remains privately owned and has been targeted for development before. The acquisition and permanent preservation of Bald Hill remains the primary goal of the Committee.
Utilizing only volunteer labor and receiving no taxpayer funds, the Committee monitors the targeted properties and, when an opportunity arises, we work to acquire them. We raise contributions through an annual newsletter, a Spring Benefit, and other activities. Using these funds as seed money, we seek matching grants from various governmental agencies, conservation groups, and charitable trusts. Starting with just a ¼-acre parcel, the Town purchased Kite Hill, which stands above Sleepy Hollow at the highest elevation in San Anselmo. Working closely with the Town Council, the Marin County Open Space District, and other environmental agencies and neighborhood groups, we purchased the Bald Hill Ridge Preserve (30 acres) and Hawthorne Canyon (22 acres). But there have been losses as well. Almost 30% of the designated lands have been lost since our inception. However, the most prominent and important parcels, such as Bald Hill and portions of the Sunny Hills Ridgeline between Memorial Park and Sorich Park, are still in private hands and at risk of development. These areas remain a key part of the greenbelt plan and we work diligently to preserve them.
Jonathan Braun, co-chair
A lifelong resident of San Anselmo, in the 1970’s a horrendous development plan threatened the hilltop above our home. I was subsequently appointed by the Town Council to a committee charged with drafting an ordinance to govern hillside development. In 1981, I worked with a citizens group to advocate formation of an open space committee for San Anselmo. In that year the Council voted to create the Open Space Committee. I have been a Chair or co-Chair for more than 23 of our 31 years. I am a potter, wood worker and classical guitarist. Being in wilderness—be it our own back yard, the High Sierra, or the southwest Red Rock canyons—is my greatest pleasure.
Stanley Radtke, co-chair
My family has lived in San Anselmo for the last three years. We were life-long residents of San Mateo County, but we moved to this area for the stellar schools and the spectacular natural beauty of the land. I joined the Open Space Committee so that I could pitch in and help to preserve the open spaces in our community, one of the vital elements that makes Marin County a truly special place. I am an attorney specializing in Immigration and Deportation Defense. I try to find the time to take at least one family hike each week out on one of our exquisite trails.
Kathleen Sanders, Treasurer
As an artist who revels in Marin’s landscapes, joining the SAOSC over 18 years ago seemed a perfect fit. I was acting Chair in 1996 when we helped to preserve Hawthorne Canyon near Sleepy Hollow. Now, as treasurer, I am happy to build up our “war chest” for the bigger battles, such as the preservation of the top of Bald Hill. With my husband Jeff’s permission, I occasionally borrow his 1962 Convertible VW Beetle, so that the Committee can promote our cause at local parades, turning my artistic training from UC Berkeley into practice.
A truly avid hiker, biker, and backpacker, I have lived in San Anselmo since 1972 and joined the SAOSC in 2006. Originally from a very densely populated town in Connecticut where the concept of "open space" garners little interest and less respect, I feel very lucky to live in San Anselmo. I was always a ‘nature lover,’ even as a child, and being out-of-doors was a large part of growing up. It's easy to take the beautiful undeveloped areas that surround us here in San Anselmo for granted and working to preserve them is a small way to give something back to our town.
As a life-long partner in the dance with animal, plants, and the lands they inhabit, I have watched and participated in too many battles to save this or preserve that. As an environmental consultant, I firmly believe the one irrevocable way of protecting our remaining treasures is to buy them.
I have been a member of SAOSC for about 12 years. I have been a San Anselmo resident since 1974 and have always enjoyed outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, etc. I love Marin for its natural beauty and access for residents, and I wanted to help preserve as much as practical and possible from development, which would be irreversible. I have been involved in various community activities, former board member of Robson House, and I am currently small business counselor at SCORE/SF. Grass roots organizations are very important to our communities and I think SAOSC is doing a good job in raising awareness.
At a very early age, my family was involved in local, state and national political campaigns and a range of causes. My father was recently honored with the “John Krebs Wilderness Area” in the Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park due to his efforts to protect the beautiful Mineral King valley. I have always valued the preservation of these special places, and keep the family tradition as an attorney with a focus on business and real estate transactions. I have lived in San Anselmo since 1996 with my wife Susan, and have two sons, Clay and Peter, both of whom enjoy hiking and all of the great areas to explore in Marin.
I have been on the Open Space Committee since 2003. I am an avid hiker and play the game of geocaching under the handle “Bric.” I became active in local open space issues when I joined the Sorich Park Area Residents, or SPAR, in 2002 to try to save an undeveloped parcel adjacent to Sorich Park. I have been co-chair of SPAR for the last two years. Since I enjoy the creation of new trails, I organized the construction of the Dean Nyberg Trail to Rock Fort in Sorich Park. I am also spearheading the proposed Sunny Hills Ridge Trail. My wife Linda and I have lived on Oakland Avenue for 23 years, and I spend free hours sailing, enjoying Renaissance music, creative writing — and pulling broom and picking up litter in Faudé Park. My son Nathan graduated from Drake and is now at Prescott College in Arizona.
Linda Hoch, secretary
TEETH...those were the last things I wanted to be involved with when I decided to volunteer with our town. Since I graduated from UCSF in 1962 I had practiced in dental hygiene and was ready to avoid the oral cavity. So about 23 years ago I joined the SAOSC and have been participating ever since. Their goals are similar to my feelings. It is so important to save our precious limited open space areas and I feel our committee has made a good start by preserving 53 acres in the Ross Valley that could have been developed.
My husband Peter and I have lived in San Anselmo since 1972 but I spent my childhood summers here as I grew up in San Francisco. The Marin Town and Country Club and roaming the hills near Fairfax were favorite activities for my friends, my husband and myself.
I grew up with a family of campers and wilderness survivors and have hiked and climbed and skied the awe inspiring landscapes of the US and Europe. In 1976, I started my own family of three sons and a daughter in a downtown San Anselmo neighborhood. Since then, we have discovered waterfalls, pretended to be in the enchanted forest, skipped down trails, and gathered up the neighborhood for full-moon walks up Bald Hill. Even during my working day at Marin General Hospital, I’m blessed with the beauty of our open space. All of these lifelong opportunities are a daily reminder for me to appreciate and enjoy the open land surrounding my home, my work, and my recreational choices. These opportunities only take place because of the vision and efforts of people who understand the value of saving the land for each other and the future. This year it was time to give back and become a member of the SAOSC and I feel honored to be a part of this dedicated group.
My love of the outdoors and nature inspired me to join the Open Space Committee, to help preserve and restore the remaining undeveloped tracks in San Anselmo. Since I moved here in 2009, I have already hiked most of the trails in the Mt. Tam Watershed and the town’s surrounding open space. In 2010, I helped start Friends of Faudé Park with Brian Crawford to restore trails and deal with invasive plants in my neighboring Faudé Park. Professionally, I practice Natural Resources Law and litigate on behalf of non-profit groups to protect our National Forests from logging and other developments. Most of my work involves protection of old forests and rare species’ habitats in the Southern Sierra and the North Coast national forests, although I also work on projects in Southeastern Alaska and the Southern U.S
The Committee’s first student representative, Spencer Galli is a junior at Drake High School. He is very interested in working to promote open space in the Ross Valley. He enjoys hiking and fishing with his family and friends, provided he is not too busy studying or playing on the varsity water polo team. Spencer says, “I joined the Open Space Committee because the open space in Marin brings a unique aspect of beauty and fantastic scenery, and I believe it's important that we help preserve it.”