233 acres along Tomales Bay (CA) Protected

MILLERTON POINT, Marin County–Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni (D-Marin), California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and Marin County residents gathered Saturday on a hillside once threatened with development to celebrate the protection of 233 acres of open, rolling hills at Millerton Point along Tomales Bay in Marin County. The picturesque lands, which are comprised of a ten-lot subdivision with a total fair market value of $4,080,000, were acquired by the Trust for Public Land and then conveyed to the California Department of Parks and Recreation as an addition to Tomales Bay State Park. The lots were threatened with development that would compromise the scenic viewshed, wildlife habitat, and water quality of Tomales Bay. In 1996, TPL began acquiring the threatened parcels and completed the final acquisitions in March 2000.

“TPL’s vision to protect these beautiful hills with sweeping views of Tomales Bay, conceived more than seven years ago, has come to fruition. Thanks to many of you here today, these lands are now permanently protected as public open space for people and wildlife. We could not have completed the job without tremendous leadership and support from elected officials, private donors, public agencies, and former landowners. Thank you,” remarked Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Land.

Located in western Marin County and overlooking Tomales Bay and Inverness Ridge, the ten threatened lots were the focal point of the Trust for Public Land’s Tomales Bay Preservation Program since 1993. At that tim,e TPL secured interim protection of the parcels using private funds from TPL’s Bay Area Land Fund and the Dorothy Erskine Open Space Fund.

TPL created a private-public partnership with the help of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Senator John Burton, Assemblymember Kerry Mazzoni, Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, the Marin County Open Space District, the California Transportation Commission, Chevron Corporation, and many other private donors to secure funding to purchase these properties as an addition to Tomales Bay State Park.

At the request of Senator Burton and Assemblymember Mazzoni, the Legislature last year added funding to the state budget to complete this acquisition. Governor Davis, who has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting threatened coastal resources, approved the funds. The Legislature has appropriated funds for Tomales Bay since 1996.

TPL acquired the first of the ten threatened properties in 1996, then acquired four additional properties in 1998 and three additional properties in 1999. In March of this year, TPL purchased the last two lots and completed this phase of the Tomales Bay Preservation Program.

“Tomales Bay is one of California’s most beautiful places. I am thrilled to help protect it,” commented Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni (D-Marin).

“The purchase of this magnificent property not only protects breathtaking views of Inverness Ridge and Tomales Bay, it also protects the bay’s water quality,” said Ken Leigh, District Superintendent, Marin County, California State Parks.

“We are very grateful for the help and support this purchase has received from Governor Davis, Senator Burton and Assemblymember Mazzoni, and from all our other partners and supporters,” said Pamela Iguchi, Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Now that we have completed our program at Millerton Point, we are exploring other land protection opportunities along Tomales Bay.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization that works to preserve important open space through willing seller acquisitions. Over the past twenty-eight years, TPL has protected more than 1,200,000 acres of land for people nationwide. Projects include preserving more than 5,000 acres of scenic lands in western Marin County that are now part of the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. TPL also facilitated the acquisition of the land that now constitutes the Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge just off the San Rafael shoreline.