Created in 1981, the SAOSC is a group of eleven volunteers and two student representatives 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.
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 (46 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 Memorial Ridge 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.
Meet The Committee
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 and I was appointed at that time. I have served on the committee for 40 years
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.
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. I became a member to give back 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
I am honored to have served on the Open Space Committee since 2008. In serving our community in this capacity, I wholeheartedly believe that the beautiful and scenic open ridgelines and the vast open spaces that surround our local environment here in the Ross Valley are something worthwhile and deserving of preservation for future generations. I have lived in San Anselmo since 2007, with my wife Gala, and we have one daughter. By profession, I am an immigration and criminal defense attorney, with a legal practice in Oakland. I feel blessed to be able to live in San Anselmo, a place that treasures open spaces and strives to preserve the natural wonder of our shared environment
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. Since I enjoy creating new trails, I organized the construction of the Dean Nyberg Trail to Rock Fort in Sorich Park. I am also spearheading a project to build two new trails on Red Hill and Memorial Ridge between Memorial Park and Sorich Park. I am a retired programmer. My wife Linda and I have lived on Oakland Avenue since 1986, and I spend free hours sailing, enjoying Renaissance music, doing historical research, writing — and pulling broom and picking up litter in Faudé Park..
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.
Friends of SAOSC
Marin Open Space Trust (MOST)
MOST is an independent non-profit organization that works with individuals, organizations, and governmental agencies to acquire and protect open space in Marin County.
Friends of Sorich Ranch Park
Friends of Sorich Ranch Park, has logged thousands of volunteer hours. The Park is now a transformed place while restoring its wild side and open spaces. The Friends of Sorich Ranch Park meet the 2nd Saturday of each month starting at 9am. To be included on the e-mail list, please contact Ted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marin County Parks
Marin County Parks (formerly Marin County Open Space District, or MCOSD) is the County government organization that purchases and maintains open space in the unincorporated areas of Marin. They have an excellent series of free printable maps of all their preserves. SAOSC often works in conjunction with Marin County Parks to purchase open space. We worked as partners to acquire the Bald Hill Open Space preserve on the ridgeline west of Bald Hill.
Town of San Anselmo
San Anselmo is a vibrant and charming community nestled in the center of beautiful Ross Valley. Residents and town officials endeavor to:
Maintain a small town ambiance
Preserve the historic character of the unique downtown shopping area
Protect open space and parks for the enjoyment of all.
Fairfax Open Space Committee
FOSC is our sister organization in Fairfax, founded in 2004. Since we share common goals and some of the properties we are trying to protect lie on the borders between Fairfax and San Anselmo, the two OSC’s have worked closely together and coordinated our efforts since their inception.
The late Ernie Braun was a resident of San Anselmo for over 60 years. His career as a professional photographer spanned more than 70 years during which he was honored for his architectural and editorial work and for his nature photography that was published and exhibited widely. Ernie was a faithful supporter of the San Anselmo Open Space Committee, having presented slide programs and donated framed prints at numerous benefit events over many years. The photo of Bald Hill with the iconic castles of the Theological Seminary was taken for the unsuccessful 1990 campaign to purchase Bald Hill. Ernie graciously let the committee use the photo as the masthead for its newsletter.
Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed
The Friends works throughout the Ross Valley to protect the watershed, ensure water quality, and encourage the aquatic life of the streams. Since this involves maintaining clean runoff and natural filtration of the water, they support our efforts to preserve open space in the Ross Valley.