Watershed Recreation Management Plan Community Workshop #3

Be Part of the Watershed Recreation Management Plan!
The future of Mt. Tam is under discussion right now, in a plan for Recreation on the Watershed.

Attend Workshop #3 — Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area, Wednesday, September 14,  5:00 – 7:00 PM

Free parking, Sky Oaks kiosk
More information: https://www.marinwater.org/node/971

Discuss existing Watershed Stewardship programs, partnerships, and community engagement efforts that support managing the watershed. – Breakout groups will follow presentation. 

Marin Water’s mission is to provide the community with “reliable, high-quality water” and to sustainably manage 22,000 acres of the  Mt. Tamalpais Watershed to protect water quality and biodiversity.  Since before the turn of the last century, Mt. Tamalpais has also been a magnet for recreationists, including anglers, hikers, equestrians, nature viewers, runners, walkers, youth camps, cyclists and many more.  Annual visitation has grown exponentially to reach almost 1.8 million visitors. How can the District continue to manage these numbers of people and their recreation activities on the mountain without incurring resource damage and without displacing visitors who feel unsafe?  The emerging Watershed Recreation Management Plan is intended to guide the District by answering these questions.

Talking points: 

  • Since its founding in 1934, MCL has been advocating for the well-being of Mt. Tamalpais and its watershed(s) by actively participating in District planning processes to better fulfill its responsibilities for meeting water supply needs and managing watershed resources, at the same time enabling the public to enjoy the many health and social advantages of outdoor activities.
  • But the Watershed should not be treated as “everyone’s free playground!” Roads and trails can have many undesirable effects on habitats and environment. We all use and enjoy them, but understand that increasing human use, especially in remote and seldom-visited areas, can intensify these impacts and disrupt the refuge of native wildlife.
  • MCL’s primary goals in advocating for appropriate management and use of the Watershed’s road and trail networks are to “. . . avoid adverse impacts to natural resources due to recreation, ensure that the natural environment and the plants and wildlife it sustains will persist into the future, and assure visitors of their safety and well-being on all roads and trails.
  • Recognizing the District’s very limited resources to maintain recreation facilities, let alone construct them, the Plan approach should be to: “Care for what we have – but do it better!” Before considering expanding trail access, focus first on fixing old or damaged trails and other facilities, and refocus on how visitors currently behave on roads and trails,  and develop a plan and allocate resources on how to improve behavior through education and more effective enforcement of existing rules.
  • Leverage existing partnerships like One Tam to continue the synergistic benefits that come from collaborative action in protecting sensitive resources, woodlands and forest, wetlands, and other plants and habitats from the impacts of recreational uses. 
  • Expand the notion of volunteerism as a form of “recreation,” not to build new trails or bridges, but to support staff efforts in trail and other maintenance, and in resource management, such as early detection–rapid response teams, habitat restoration efforts, or monitoring such as the Frog Docent Program or Northern spotted owl territories or rare plant populations. 
  • Augment the “ranger presence” on the Watershed based on limited available personnel by developing a robust volunteer patrol – a “Trail Ambassador” program – made up of hikers, runners, horse-mounted patrol, and mountain bikers to interact with visitors – serve as a constructive educational presence, add “eyes” on the roads and trails, and willingly admonish and report their renegade peers who break the rules. 
  • An annual “Trail Pass” program, administered for a modest fee, would accustom people to the idea of investing personally in restoring and respecting the watershed.  It would show access to the mountain to be what, in reality, it is: a privilege.

Please make an effort to attend the meeting and share your thoughts with Marin Water.

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