San Geronimo Commons One Step Closer to Being Permanently in Public Hands
Marin County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Approves Option to Purchase the San Geronimo Commons and Clubhouse Property Providing for Full Public Access, Restoration, and Public Safety
San Francisco, CA – San Geronimo Commons is on track to becoming Marin County’s newest park and headquarters for the Marin County Fire Department after the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved today an option to purchase the 157-acre property from Trust for Public Land [TPL].
“The unanimous decision by the Board of Supervisors, with broad based community support, is a triple win for the community, it will forever protect this treasured place for everyone to enjoy, provide important habitat for endangered salmon, and possibly make space for a critically needed fire station serving Marin County residents,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, California State Director for The Trust for Public Land.
With Supervisor approval, Trust for Public Land and Marin County entered into an agreement that gives the County an exclusive right to purchase the property for $4.5 million. Under the agreement, the County will conduct an environmental review process as it explores potential future uses of the property, including critical fire station and fire facility uses.
“A landmark project like San Geronimo is a force-multiplier. It not only prioritizes habitat and ecosystem restoration that enhances the region’s biodiversity and maximizes the opportunity to restore the last great Coho salmon run in the Bay Area in the Lagunitas watershed. It also bolsters and anchors community climate resilience, provides a critical linkage for thousands of acres of public land, and makes space for modern fire facilities in west Marin. This is truly a win-win for the region and TPL is proud to have played a part,” continued Rodriguez.
“This is a unique opportunity to improve public safety by moving Fire Department headquarters to a more central location where we can better serve residents of the San Geronimo Valley and greater Marin County,” said Marin County Fire Chief, Jason Weber.
Today’s agreement follows Marin Open Space Trust securing a conservation easement earlier this year with funding from the State of California. In keeping with the community-based vision for the property, the easement prohibits future development, protects public access for low-impact recreational use, and provides for future creek, floodplain and habitat restoration.
The San Geronimo Commons currently enjoys broad public use, and already serves as an important recreational and public safety hub for west Marin residents – for example, Trust for Public Land, in partnership with community groups, has hosted Covid testing and vaccination clinics, a drive-through food pantry, public health fairs, salmon walks, youth cross-country races, and other activities on the property.
“Having access to the San Geronimo Commons for our safety-net and emergency response services, as well as healthy eating and active living-based programs and activities, has been a real game-changer for our organization and for our community,” says Dave Cort, Executive Director of the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. “During the pandemic the San Geronimo Commons allowed us to respond immediately and effectively. From the Commons we served thousands of families through our food pantry, distributed 12,000 covid-tests, hosted over a dozen vaccine clinics, fed seniors through our take-away lunch program, and offered a variety of healthy activities for all ages. Continued public access supports our mission of fostering healthy and inclusive communities in Nicasio and the San Geronimo Valley and provides tremendous opportunities for expanded public-safety initiatives.”
“This is the right way forward for Marin County,” said Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni. “Acquiring the San Geronimo Commons is an exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand conservation, community health, and fire safety benefits for all Marin County residents. I remain steadfast in my commitment to these goals and to improving fire facilities and fire response times in the San Geronimo Valley and across the County.”
San Geronimo Commons is one of the largest parcels of land adjacent to San Geronimo Creek and is also home to Larsen Creek, with the two waterways comprising critical aquatic habitat within the Lagunitas Creek Watershed, a key focus of local, state, and federal efforts to protect and conserve protected fish species. Protecting this land for future restoration and wildlife corridor enhancement will bolster climate resilience and allow animals to adapt and migrate, including critical fish species like the Coho Salmon. The Lagunitas Creek Watershed is a high-priority salmon recovery watershed, and San Geronimo Creek provides roughly 40% of the available spawning habitat in the entire watershed.
“Trout Unlimited is excited to be involved with this great opportunity to protect critical habitat for endangered and threatened Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout,” says Anna Halligan, North Coast Coho Project Director, Trout Unlimited.
The work to rewild San Geronimo Commons is not only reconnecting riparian waterways and rebuilding habitat by expanding greenspace, but also creating a hub for recreational corridors. Situated in the heart of West Marin, the San Geronimo Commons sits at the nexus of four existing public open space preserves – Roy’s Redwoods, French Ranch, Maurice Thorner, and Gary Giacomini Preserve.
San Geronimo Commons not only serves as an invaluable crossroads for both wildlife and public recreational trail use locally but will also provide a critical linkage to trails connecting the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Point Reyes National Seashore, creating new opportunities for people to get outside and play.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.