Protect Upper Toyon Ridge

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About six years ago, my kids and I began camping in our backyard during the summers. We were amazed and delighted to learn that the Open Space area of our canyon and the surrounding ridge is important breeding habitat for endangered raptors and home to all kinds of wildlife such as foxes, bobcat, and Pileated woodpeckers. My kids and I have been studying and writing about some of this wildlife.

This summer we learned that the owner of the ridge and a developer are in the planning stages of developing 14,000 square feet of this natural ridge located adjacent to Mount Tamalpais. If development moves ahead approximately 300 native oaks, madrones, and bays will be cleared for construction. The fire requirements for the new hillside estates will demand a minimum of an additional 300 trees be removed for “defensible space.” Morally, I believe it is wrong to remove 600+ trees like this—many of which are heritage trees. I know removing hundreds of trees will destabilize the soil around the entire ridge area and threaten residents in the canyons below.

This ridge sits between San Rafael and Ross and is located in Ross, California. It has been used by neighbors and hikers for decades as a walking area and vista with spectacular views. In addition to benefiting neighbors and being a critical habitat for local wildlife, this ridge can be seen from countless locations throughout Marin and has great aesthetic value to all Marin residents beyond the surrounding neighborhoods.

The owner of this land shared that he doesn’t think that there are many people who would care about this land being developed. But as a resident born and raised in Marin, I know that my community has a long-standing tradition of working together to protect the Open Space and ridges that we now cherish. This history of conservation is what makes our county an amazing place to live.

We ask that the owner and developer not pursue development of this land and allow our community to raise funds and work with a local trust organization to purchase this land so that it may be added to existing contiguous Open Space. This land is precious to us now and should be made available for future generations to enjoy and cherish.

Land Wilson (on behalf of all those who wish to save the ridge at the end of Upper Toyon Drive)

Special thanks to these supporters and community leaders:

  • Daniel Bacon, local author and founder San Francisco’s Barbary Coast Walking Trail
  • Janice Barry, M.D. and environmentalist
  • Peter Barry, M.D. former Mayor and City Council Member of the Town of Ross
  • Chris Leinbach, President of the West End Neighborhood Association, San Rafael
  • Vicki Fernandez, Secretary of the West End Neighborhood Association, San Rafael
  • Ben Negrete, Treasurer of the West End Neighborhood Association, San Rafael
  • Brian Walsh, Director of the West End Neighborhood Association, San Rafael
  • Tara Dhana Elfenbein - BFA Graphic Design, and environmentalist
  • Amy Likover, President of the Gerstle Park Neighborhood Association, San Rafael, and Interim President of the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods
  • Cynthia Landecker, President San Rafael Heritage
  • Hugo Landecker, Vice President San Rafael Heritage, Federation Steering Committee and Gerstle Park Neighborhood Association Board
  • Carolyn S. Lenert, San Rafael Citizen of the Year (2011), San Rafael Fire Commissioner, for purposes of identification only
  • California Oak Foundation
  • California Wildlife Foundation
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • E.P.I.C
  • Marin Open Space Trust
  • The Sierra Club - Marin Group

"The Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods supports the efforts to acquire and preserve 10 acres of land known as the "Upper Toyon Ridge" (Town of Ross), adjacent to the existing 36 acre Gerstle Park Open Space."



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