The hazy air set the perfect mood at the San Geronimo Golf Course this week, as the county is set to purchase and repurpose the land, signaling the end for the course.
According to the Marin Independent Journal, county supervisors voted unanimously to “issue a notice of intent” to purchase the property for about $9 million, with Marin assuming around $4 million of the purchase price and private funders raising the rest.
Besides the possible recreational benefits, many people are excited about the possibility of habitat restoration that would provide a more suitable environment for the wildlife of San Geronimo Valley.
President of the Marin Conservation League (MCL) Kate Powers believes this development will be very beneficial for a certain type of fish, the Coho, that inhabits the San Geronimo watershed.
“We support restoration because of the creeks that flow through the property for the benefit of the Coho salmon population,” Powers said.
Powers said MCL wants to see restoration specifically around the creeks to provide a more suitable habitat for the Coho.
“There would be restoration around the creek area that would provide more space for the Coho to go through their whole life cycle before they swim out to Tomales Bay,” Powers said.
Project Manager for the Environmental Health Services division of Marin County Lorene Jackson said a number of public discussions will be held in order to determine the best use of the area.
“A series of meetings will be held in San Geronimo Valley over the next six months to get comments on what the people want it to be,” Jackson said.
Marin County Parks (MCP), one of the principal groups involved in the acquisition, released an FAQ sheet in hopes of answering most people’s thoughts or concerns on the course being purchased. The sheet states, like Jackson, that “the County and MCP
envision designing a series of outreach and listening events to set a high-level vision for the future restoration of the property and development of park facilities.”
On the financial side, Jackson believes that funding will come from a combination of private and public entities, with the Trust for Public Land being expected to chip in some resources.
“It’s going to be a combination,” Jackson said. “You have public funding, possibly public grants, and the Trust for Public Land, which is figuring it out.”
The conversion of the course will impact more than just those around it, however. In addition to supporting the Coho, MCP also sees this as an opportunity to encourage other wildlife. The aforementioned sheet states this is a “destiny changing opportunity for resident Central Coast Coho and steelhead, as well as other native wildlife. Restoring the site for fish will create many other benefits for people and native wildlife.”
MCL also believes this is a great chance to generate many benefits for surrounding inhabitants. They hope that, by allocating more land for animals and humans to roam, they can create a special space.
“From a conservation organization’s point of view, this is a golden opportunity to connect the French Ranch open space with Roy’s Redwoods,” Powers said. “[We could] connect those two spaces for wildlife corridors and provide public access between the
communities of Woodacre, San Geronimo and Forest Knolls.”
Senior Katie Levy, a member of the girls’ golf team, believes there are plenty of golf courses in Marin despite the loss of San Geronimo.
“I think there’s still enough golf in Marin. We play Peacock Gap, Meadow Club, the Country Club,” Levy said.
That’s not to say she won’t miss San Geronimo. According to Levy, it was a beautiful course that also provided a challenge.
“It was gorgeous, though the back nine was really hard,” Levy said. “We played it for MCALs last year.”
However, Levy is excited to hear that the land may be converted to a park, and said it would be an ideal location.