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CGF In the News
by Peter LaTourrette
Back when Committee for Green Foothills was getting started in the 1960s, we earned the nickname "Green Feet" - a play on our name, of course, and also an apt description of our grassroots nature.
The Committee's founders thought that was a perfect name for a group of nature lovers. These early activists liked to hike the Skyline ridge and see the sun set behind the gentle hills. They enjoyed the peaceful scenery of the San Mateo Coast and watching the extraordinary "fog fall" tumbling down the slopes.
Their passion for the land was matched by their passion for sound long-range planning. They knew that if something wasn't done to control urban sprawl, the natural resources and beauty they enjoyed wouldn't last for future generations.
Those early Green Feet started marching to meetings of Planning Commissions, Boards of Supervisors, and City Councils. They researched and testified. They spoke up when others did not - and they were heard.
Decades later, we're all able to enjoy their legacy. Much of Skyline is now protected as a scenic corridor, and in preserves managed by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Industrial development slated for the Palo Alto foothills was denied. And early and repeated plans for massive growth on the Coast were rejected, one by one, as Green Feet and so many others successfully defended open space.
As the weather turns warm, now is a good time for us all to get out and enjoy the land we are working to protect. Not sure where to start? Here are some of my favorites.
At Long Ridge Open Space Preserve in Saratoga, take the challenge of a six-mile hike up to the spectacular views from the top of Long Ridge Road Trail and enjoy a well-deserved rest on the bench dedicated to Wallace Stegner, CGF's first president.
On the Coastside, you can see a diversity of birds and - if you're lucky - a pond turtle or two on a walk around the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, where CGF continues to help find an environmentally sound solution to flooding problems.
North of Half Moon Bay, traipse around the rugged wildness of Montara Mountain at McNee Ranch State Park. If the summertime fog allows, you'll have fabulous views up and down the coastline.
Thanks to the efforts of CGF and many others, we'll all be able to enjoy these places for some time. But not so long ago, this last hike was threatened by a proposal that would have re-routed Highway 1 from the dangerous Devil's Slide area inland, through McNee Ranch State Park where it would have bisected Montara Mountain.
The effort to save Montara Mountain is an extraordinary example of the power of citizen action. Together, Green Feet and many, many citizen activists banded together to protect this stunning land from a freeway. Together, we endorsed an alternative solution to the problem posed by Devil's Slide: an innovative tunnel. And together, we recently celebrated the groundbreaking of the tunnel - and the protection of Montara Mountain. We did it!
Environmentalists often bemoan the fact that our losses are permanent, while wins last only until the next threat. Having been at this for 43 years, Committee for Green Foothills has seen this time and time again: we've been staving off the development in Coyote Valley since the early '80s. We've been defending local agriculture for even longer. And we've been fighting ill-conceived proposals for massive growth on the San Mateo County Coast for decades.
To sustain our vigilance, we need to remember to enjoy the results of our work whenever possible. They are all around us! We also need to celebrate the wins when they do come.
In the spirit of the Committee for Green Foothills founders, I encourage all of you to get out and enjoy the land, and to speak up when something you love is threatened. Together, we can make a difference. Let your Green Feet show!
Published June 2005 in Green Footnotes.
Page last updated June 27, 2005.