Four rugged canyons, a rich coastal wetland
The Martin Griffin Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch is 1,000 acres of former dairy ranch in West Marin protected in perpetuity as a wildlife sanctuary.
Forests of Douglas fir, coast redwood and California bay blanket the slopes of this west Marin County preserve. Open hillsides support grasslands and coastal scrub, while chaparral, streams, ponds and freshwater marsh habitats nestle in the canyon floors.
The heron and egret heronry in Picher Canyon is the preserve’s main attraction, but you might also spot: mammals (Black-tail Deer, Bobcat, Badger, Gray Fox and Bush Rabbit), landbirds (over ninety species), reptiles (usually in warm places), and amphibians (especially in winter and early spring).
The preserve’s frontage along Bolinas Lagoon brings more than 60 species of waterbirds and shorebirds into view—from sandpipers to Osprey to pelicans—as well as some of the resident Harbor Seals.
Operating for many years as a family-run dairy ranch, the land is now protected in perpetuity thanks to the stalwart conservation efforts in the early 1960s of L. Martin 'Marty' Griffin, M.D. (then president of the Marin Chapter of the National Audubon Society), Aileen Pierson, Stan Picher, and other dedicated volunteers.
For over 40 years, the Martin Griffin Preserve was known as the Bolinas Lagoon Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch. In July 2010, the ACR Board of Directors formally renamed the preserve the Martin Griffin Preserve in honor of Marty Griffin’s lifelong commitment to the environment and in recognition of the critical role he played in permanently protecting this unique section of the Marin County coastline.
The story of a group of committed individuals making a difference is an inspiring one. To read more about Marty and his story, visit Marty's Page.
The Martin Griffin Preserve is open seasonally for visitors and schoolchildren to explore. In the fall and spring, the preserve hosts its well-regarded nature education programs, which serve thousands of elementary schoolchilden every year. During the spring, summer and fall, the preserve is open to visitors. See the Explore page for more information.
Martin Griffin Preserve also serves as ACR’s headquarters and houses executive, finance, development and administrative teams.
- Len Blumin