The lands of Marin County are a semi-wilderness next door to San Francisco, north of the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge. These lands are comprised of rolling hills filled with wildlife, stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Native American sites, cattle ranches, and historic military forts of coastal defense.
John Muir and William Kent, 1912.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 32470. 0313
Muir Woods National Monument
Where: 559 acres of land located 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge
When: 1908, 1972
- 1905: Congressman and Mrs. William Kent purchased land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company to protect native redwoods and preserve the surrounding mountains.
- 1908: President Theodore Roosevelt established Muir Woods National Monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906; Kent insisted it be named for naturalist John Muir.
- 1972: P.L. 92-589, became a unit in the GGNRA.
- First national park site created from land donated by a private individual.
- Includes one of the few remaining old-growth coast redwood forests in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Muir Woods also features red alders, California big leaf maples, tan bark oaks, Douglas fir, ferns, and fungi. Wildlife includes the endangered Coho salmon, Pacific wren, woodpeckers, owls, deer, chipmunks, skunks, river otters, and squirrels.
Stewart Ranch, Tennessee Valley.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 35332
Where: 10 miles of land between Tomales Bay and Bolinas
- 1972: P.L. 92-589 included areas of Olema Valley.
- Private land purchased from owners to preserve ranches and west Marin open space; owners retained option to maintain residences and work the land for 25 years or for the owner's lifetime with special use permits for cattle grazing.
- Preserves site of a significant dairy industry which began in 1857 and thrived for over 100 years.
- Protects borders with neighboring Point Reyes National Seashore.
Dorothy Silva’s grandfather standing in a field with dog, Tennessee Valley, 1920.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 17928.09
Where: Among the rolling hills of Mill Valley in southwestern Marin County
When: 1972, 1974
- 1972: P.L. 92-589 included areas of Tennessee Valley.
- 1974: Boundary revisions drawn by the People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area resulted in the addition of 400 Tennessee Valley acres to the GGNRA.
- Tennessee Valley and Tennessee Cove named for the SS Tennessee, a ship that grounded on the beach in fog in 1853. Captain Mellus saved 550 passengers and cargo but lost the ship.
- Tennessee Valley' s wilderness landscape is home to raptors, coyotes, deer, and bobcats, and also features plant specimens such as the California poppy, sticky monkey flower, and lupine.
NPS Ranger Yuri Fedeshoff shares the history of Fort Cronkhite with a group of school children.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 18326
Fort Barry and Fort Cronkhite
Where: Southwestern edge of Marin County
- 1972: P.L. 92-589 incorporated both forts into the GGNRA, though some Army use continued for about 20 years.
- 1974: Both forts formally transferred from the Army to the NPS.
- Fort Cronkhite is the Bay Area's best preserved example of a World War II mobilization post.
- Fort Barry military construction spans centuries of defense from Endicott Era (1901-1910) gun emplacements to the Nike missiles of the Cold War.
Point Bonita Lighthouse, circa 1908-1912.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA-3176
Where: Extreme southwestern tip of the Marin Headlands and Fort Barry
- 1855: Lighthouse was built by the Lighthouse Board, an organization predating the U.S. Coast Guard, which was established in 1915.
- 1972: P.L. 92-589 included Point Bonita.
- 1982: Although the U.S. Coast Guard retained ownership of the lighthouse, the GGNRA began to provide public programs and resource protection at the site.
- 1984: Lighthouse opened for NPS-guided tours.
- Last manned lighthouse on the California coast; remains an active U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse after 150 years.
Top: Fort Baker, 1925. Bottom: Fort Baker, circa 1978.
Top: Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 32487 Bottom: Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 35301.0903
Where: Southeast corner of the Marin Peninsula, near the north end of Golden Gate Bridge; also includes a small area at the west end of the Baker-Barry Tunnel
When: 1973, 2002
- 1972: P.L. 92-589 included areas of Fort Baker.
- 1973: Western portions of Fort Baker transferred to the GGNRA.
- 2002: East Fort Baker formally decommissioned and transferred to the GGNRA.
- Fort Baker preserves the park's most complete example of U.S. Army Endicott Era coastal defense construction.
- The natural beauty and open space surrounding the fort is a valuable addition to the national park.