Cataract Falls on Mt. Tamalpais.

A first of its kind study of the ecological health of Mt. Tamalpais finds that while birds are thriving, Coho salmon, steelhead trout and some frog species are struggling. We’ll discuss the study, which also looked at the the impact of sudden oak death, invasive species, fires and floods. And we’ll hear what can and should be done to preserve and maintain this favorite destination for Bay Area bikers and hikers.

More Information:
Mt. Tam Health Report Yields Hope — And a Warning (KQED Science)

Measuring the Health of a Mountain

Report: Mt. Tam Overall Health Stable, Fish Populations ‘Dangerously Small’ 19 October,2016Amanda Stupi

Sharon Farrell, vice president of Stewardship and Conservation, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Eric Ettlinger, aquatic ecologist, Marin Municipal Water District
Janet Klein, natural resources program manager, Marin Municipal Water District

  • wandagb

    “Invasive species”?
    Unfortunately Mt Tam is suffering the same fate as the larger Bay Area: overpopulation. as a consequence It feels that we are slowly turning our places of solace and beauty into amusement parks with people jostling for parking places.

    If these various agencies and organizations – and now the umbrella organization One Tam – really want to work for the future of the mountain they should put some effort into convincing legislators to deal with population growth. BART riders would also be grateful as would anyone trying to get from point A to point B.

    It will be left as an exercise to the reader to figure out where this growth is coming from. Hint: how many have more than one or two children?

    • Dano2

      I totally agree that One Tam should work to restrict births as far away as, say, Sacramento. Those darn people looking to recreate are ruining the Bay Area!

      Maybe a big border wall on the county border too…



  • Terry

    Last time I went to mount tam there were signs everywhere warning people about vehicle break ins. What is being done about the invasive species of smash and grab hoodlums?

  • I hope this program will discuss the unfortunate choice to prevent consideration of a ban on herbicide use. The herbicides being used by these “restoration” projects are dangerous for both wildlife and humans. There is also considerable evidence that the herbicides are damaging the soil, which is probably a factor in the usual failure of natives to return to the areas in which non-natives have been eradicated with herbicides.

  • Pjones

    I hope this discussion will address with plans to expand mountain bike trails at Mt. Tam State Park.

  • Eddie

    San Francisco supervisors are considering expanding public access to the San Mateo watershed. One major concern is the impact additional visitors will have on the wildlife. Mt. Tam is looked at as an example of a working public access system. If access is opened, what lessons can we learn for. Mt Tam?

  • lombadesign

    GREAT TALK! I am an illustrator in Marin just underway on a personal project illustrating endangered species of the Golden Gate area, starting with the red legged frog. Last year I worked on a website for a group protecting salmon in the Mattole watershed. If anyone could make use of endangered species illustrations, and/or need help making information on their efforts readily available online, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

  • SarahSiddell

    Scott Shafer is just the very best of all the guest hosts of Forum. He asks great questions and excellent follow-up questions to elicit important information from guests. If Michael Krasny ever retires, I hope Scott will succeed him.

  • Jordan Herrmann

    In Regard to Mountain Bike Riding in MTSP and the Damage to the Environment and Safety of other Park Visitors

    Mountain bikes are everywhere in Mt.Tam State Park (MTS). Their handlebar lights can be seen at night. In daytime they can be seen from the highway coming out of the backcountry woods were their aggressive fat tire wheels are cutting paths that will last for years if there is no restoration. But will result in erosion and turbidity in Redwood Cr. As well as disturbing the delicate plant ecology that has developed over the eons.

    Go the, click Explore Segments search for Coastal View Downhill, Easy Grade Downhill and Old RR Grade (located in MMWD). Top speed in these electronically held competitions are over 22 mph. Over a third of the riders are riding over the speed limit of 15mph. It’s not a few renegades, bad apples or less than one percent breaking the law, but over one-third.

    Easy Grade Trail is a posted single track trail, illegal to ride on, still top speed over 22mph per This hiking trail in the heart of the an area with the largest number of plants and wildflowers found in the park. It is going to be turned into a Mountain Bike Tr. next summer.

    The MTSP management, local and District are fully promoting this construction which will be paid for by MCBC the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, a federal grant and mountain bike industry funded consultant, expert in the use of bicycles for transportation. Most of their work is excellent and much needed, but when it comes to submitting proposals to MTSP and for other wild places for mountain bike trails and paying for them, they diminish their resume.

    Besides severe environmental damage done by the mountain bikes in the backcountry of MTSP their are safety issues. State Parks admits they are not enforcing speeding laws involving mountain biking. Hikers have been injured by speeding downhill mountain bikes with no enforcement to discourage and control this behavior. In fact within MTSP, mountain biking is out of control day and night.

    But still MTSP is insisting on promoting and designing the first hiking trail to be converted to mountain bike riding. A complicated State Park policy and detailed paperwork process paid for by the mountain bike community and industry is assumed to fairly and scientifically determine if a trail is suitable for mountain biking.

    But if the Park has already decided it wants to build the trail, as is the case with Easy Gr. The paperwork questionnaire, questions are falsely answered to allow the official approval for building the trail. There is proof this occurred with Easy Grade Tr. in the, Change In Use (CIU) Trail Evaluation Study. If the questions were answered correctly the building of this mountain bike in the very heart of the park would have been rejected. But they weren’t. Now, construction paid for by MCBC will start next summer. CCCs will build the trail.

    One must ask if their is no ranger enforcement or control in regard to mountain biking in the park, why is State Parks designing and building a trail for this extreme sport the backcountry for mountain bikes that will lead to environmental damage to one of the most sensitive spots in the park?

    If there is lawless activity in the Park with no enforcement and it is rewarded by spending the time and energy of a severely manpower short park, with a huge deferred maintenance list, want to provide the work for an official trail for this lawless community? Respect for the law in this park will cease to exist, as is happening now. Proof of these statements can be found in and by eyewitness accounts.

    State Parks is in the process of developing policy for the use of electric mountain bikes in the Parks. These vehicles do not have to be registered or liability insured by a state law that went into efffect earlier this year. (the mountain bike lobby at work to promote these five-thousand dollar toys. Now the comparison that should have been made years ago has to be made. What is the difference in use, between an electric mountain bike and a traditional dirt bike?
    Below are examples of how special MTSP is, in line with the natural science sections of its General Plan. The following designations have been made, where Mt.Tamalpais is the biological ground zero for what is left of the habitats for wild things in the Bay Area:
    The eighth most significant biological “hot spot” in the world; as found by The Nature Conservancy.
    Among the six most significant biological “hot spots” in the United States, as designated by the US Nat’l Park Service*.
    In 1988 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) created the Golden Gate Biosphere Preserve.
    Bolinas Lagoon designated by the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. (Bolinas Lagoon is located where the western slopes of Mt.Tam fall steeply into the Pacific. (The east-west ridgeline of Mt.Tamalpais runs from the Bay directly to Bolinas Lagoon.)
    As the Mt.Tam ridgeline crosses W.Ridgecrest Blvd., the elev. is 2000′, it reaches to the highest point within two miles of the Pacific on the west coast.
    At the base of the eastern slopes of Mt.Tam lies the San Francisco Bay Estuary, the largest on the Pacific Coast of North and South America,
    Shouldn’t Mt.Tamalpais be given the protection it needs and not be turned over to mountain and electric mountain bikers.

  • Judy Schriebman

    I asked the last question on the program that was not fully answered by Sharon Farrell of OneTam; in fact her response either skirted or ignored the question.

    While I appreciate that FORUM has an understandable mandate to provide “feel good” and upbeat programming, there should be some concern for facts.

    At minimum, the host could ask the guest to actually answer the question so that FORUM gets more accurate information to local listeners.

    Donors are told that OneTam is a “collaboration” but if you follow the money, you will find that their projects are actually financially managed and controlled by the private SF based Parks Conservancy.

    Ms. Farrell left the radio audience with the impression that all of the money ($1.4M) stays in Marin and goes to “programs” that encourage volunteers. She ignored the issue of OneTam start up costs of over $1 million to produce fund raising brochures, marketing campaigns etc. How much is left for real protection of the highly endangered fish, multiple species of rare plants, and the Giant Redwoods, which rely on the migration of the coho from the ocean for survival?

    Greg Moore, who heads the Conservancy, gets a base salary of $350,000 a year. Money for his salary comes from in part income from Muir Woods concessions that go direct to the Conservancy and are invisible to the public.

    Is the Conservancy bleeding the park for money for their top brass while neglecting the wild resources they are supposed to protect? Are their actions leading to the death of the coho and Muir Woods via this hidden private “partnership”?

    Where are the vitally needed restoration projects?

    FORUM does so much good for its loyal audiences — it could do just a bit more if the host would follow up on questions and if programs like this are managed as more than a press release for the speakers.

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