Martin Griffin Preserve
Visiting Martin Griffin Preserve
Visitors are welcome to explore the Preserve during scheduled events; see the calendar for visiting opportunities. Through-hiking from Mt. Tamalpias or any unscheduled access is not allowed on the preserve without express permission. See also, volunteer opportunities.
Fee: Suggested donation of $20 per person; $15 for members. All donations are greatly appreciated, and support Audubon Canyon Ranch preserves and programs.
Redwoods, watershed, and coastal grasslands at the edge of the Bolinas Lagoon
Mixed evergreen forests blanket slopes overlooking the Bolinas Lagoon. Open hillsides support grasslands and coastal scrub, while freshwater habitats nestle in canyon floors. The preserve is home to more than twenty-five species of mammals, over ninety species of landbirds, thirteen species of reptiles, and eight species of amphibians.
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.
For more than 70 years, the Preserve hosted one of the most significant and well-studied Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Snowy Egret nesting sites on the West Coast, with as many as 175 breeding pairs of herons and egrets nesting in the tops of the redwood trees in Picher Canyon. The herons abandoned the Preserve’s nesting sites in 2013 in favor of others on the western shore of Bolinas Lagoon and elsewhere in the Bay Area. Although no one knows why the birds left, we suspect bald eagles as the likely cause.
For a detailed look at how climate change and sea level rise may affect the four watersheds of the Preserve, read our geomorphic assessment report.
History of the land
Martin Griffin Preserve is within the ancestral territories of the Coast Miwok, Southern Pomo, and Wappo peoples.
Operating for many years as a family-run dairy ranch, the land was protected from development in the early 1960s thanks to the conservation efforts of L. Martin ‘Marty’ Griffin, M.D., Aileen Pierson, Stan Picher, and other dedicated volunteers.
In 1968, the Preserve was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
Stewarding the land for resilience
Today, we steward the land and facilities for resilience in the face of climate driven wildfire and the effects of sea level rise.
Current stewardship activities include coastal prairie restoration, control of invasive plants, such as Cape-ivy, and conducting phenology and live fuel moisture surveys to help plan future timing of controlled burns and understand long-term effects of climate change on the preserve.
In the fall and spring, we host thousands of Bay Area schoolchildren for nature education programs on the Preserve and throughout the year we partner with organizations — Project Avary, Yes Nature to Neighborhoods, and Brothers on the Rise — to increase access to educational opportunities for youth that have been historically underrepresented in the field of conservation.