by Mike Swezy
“Why do we all think we own it?” remarked a co-worker the other day about the passion we feel about Mt. Tamalpais. She was speaking not as a water district employee, but as a resident of Marin, referring to this deep connection we feel to the mountain. Perhaps we love the place because it gives us the opportunity to renew a relationship with nature and discover something larger than ourselves. Maybe it is Mt. Tam’s natural beauty that is so precious and rare that we covet it. Or is it our own personal experiences gained from journeys on Mt. Tam’s trails that give us a sense of ownership?
The strong connection to Marin’s icon was evident at our open house held on September 9th at Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters where staff presented Project Restore. As I explained in my previous post, Project Restore is MMWD’s effort to combat the proliferation of unauthorized trails on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. Did you know that we have mapped almost 9 miles of new unauthorized trails since 2005? These trails fragment wildlife habitat, spread weeds, and cause inexperienced hikers to get lost. Project Restore is our effort to close “bad actor” trails and restore natural habitat.
Almost 50 interested citizens came to engage with staff about solutions to this vexing problem. Not all agreed as to our view of the problem, so you can imagine that not all proposed solutions were in alignment. The comments we received fairly represent the diversity in the users of Mt. Tam’s trails. The common thread is our passion for the place. Bless us all for that.
What can you do to help? We offer the following:
1) Follow our watershed regulations
2) Stay on designated roads and trails (map)
3) Leave no trace
4) If you witness illegal trail construction report it to us (945-1180)
5) Become a volunteer / help us by becoming a Mt. Tam steward
It is my belief that if you come to Mt. Tamalpais to enjoy nature you have a responsibility to care for it too. What’s your belief?