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Marin County, a bridge away from San Francisco, is a gorgeous, problematic little world. Taxpayers nationwide have helped buy its magnificent parks; local efforts have placed half of its farmland under agricultural easement; its aging population has stayed nearly static; its housing prices are sky-high. Big choices lie ahead as the state brings pressure to house more people and as sea level rise and other climate change effects hit home. To help ground ongoing debates, Marinites and Marin-watchers need a better knowledge of how the county got to where it is now: the natural endowment and its fate; the gains, losses, wrangles, transformations that have made Marin simultaneously a model and for some a cautionary tale.
San Rafael resident John Hart, author of 16 books in the environmental field, has been on the Marin County beat since 1970. His title Farming on the Edge won the Silver Medal in Californiana in the Commonwealth Club Book Awards. An expert in popular presentation of complex topics, he now seeks to crystallize the available knowledge in a comprehensive history of this unique environment.
No conventional publisher’s contract can support this multi-year effort. With MarinLink as fiscal sponsor, he asks your support in the form of donations of any amount. Donors will be gratefully acknowledged and kept informed as the work progresses.
The story goes back to the end of the last glaciation, as Marin became a peninsula. The first piece to be written, though, will cover the dramatic decade between 1970 and 1980, when dreams became reality with astonishing speed--when Point Reyes National Seashore was completed and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area created; when a planning revolution swept away old projections of unfettered urban sprawl; when basic environmental laws were put in place; and when the Marin Agricultural Land Trust had its beginnings. These ten years built the stage on which every debate since then has been conducted.
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