Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve Parcels

The Two Parcels of Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve (outlined in blue; note that the MMWD parcel, 064-133-06, is not part of the preserve)

Parcel NumberOwnerZoningLand UseAcresSlopeDescription
064-133-05City of SausalitoOpen Space80 Tax Exempt2.2732.1%Lower Cypress Ridge
064-181-40City of SausalitoOpen Space80 Tax Exempt9.6937.4%Upper Cypress Ridge

The Acquisition of Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve

Advertisement in Sausalito Marin Scope, 6/1/1976

Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve was created in 1976 with the passage of Measure E, a $560 thousand bond measure.

The City’s open space committee had identified 18 properties to consider for preservation as open space with Cypress Ridge being the only unanimous selection. The City eventually realized that Cypress Ridge was the only property that had enough public support to get a bond measure passed so Measure E was placed on the ballot.

Mt. Tamalpais from Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve.

Measure E passed with 68.3% of the vote, (Sausalito Marin Scope, 6/15/1976), and it designated three parcels for purchase, the two that currently make up Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve (064-133-05 and 064-181-40) and an adjacent, 1.81 acre parcel (064-181-21) that is currently city owned open space. All three are included in the eight we recommend be protected with a conservation easement.

Sausalito Marin Scope, 5/25/1976

The City purchased the property from the American Savings and Loan Association who had promised to pursue a three year old proposal to build 56 housing units on Cypress Ridge if Measure E failed. This would have left half the parcels undeveloped. The parcels were zoned for 221 housing units and additional development would have been likely (Sausalito Marin Scope, 5/25/1976).

Angel Island seen from Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve as two sailboats enter Raccoon Strait.

Besides preventing the development of Cypress Ridge, Sausalitans created a mandate to protect its wildlife, an issue that was mentioned in several newspaper articles at the time. This is from Sausalito Marin Scope, 5/18/1976:

The acreage, which has a nearly level area of grasslands sheltered from the highway above by a steep, brush-covered slope, is a much-used bird and animal habitat and breeding ground, and supports a variety of native trees, shrubs and small plants.

Sausalitan Dennis Beall, who participated in a two-month Audubon Society study of Cypress Ridge this spring, reported 28 species of birds sighted — from chestnut-backed chickadee to western flycatchers, to orange-crowned warblers, hummingbirds, vireos and flickers.”

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Senate Exhibit showing the proposed Sausalito extensions to the GGNRA: Wolfback Ridge (west of freeway), South Ridge (southermost section), Cypress Ridge (long extension in Sausalito in middle), and the Caltrans right of way.

Cypress Ridge’s ecological value can also be seen in an earlier attempt to preserve it. When the GGNRA was expanded in 1974, the Federal government seriously considered including Cypress Ridge along with the additions made in Tennessee Valley, Oakwood Valley, Wolfback Ridge and South Ridge (1973 hearings on Senate Bill 3187 before a subcommittee of the Interior and Insular Affairs). In fact, Cypress Ridge was part of the bill that passed the House of Representatives (Sausalito Marin Scope, 2/5/1974). It was only left out of the final bill because Highway 101 separates it from the rest of the GGNRA (GGNRA Superintendent Bill Whalen’s testimony to the Senate subcommittee). This serious consideration clearly shows Cypress Ridge’s ecological value and importance to the environment, a topic we will pursue on our Ecological Value web page.

A Coast Live Oak frames Richardson Bay at Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve.

In summary, Measure E acquired three parcels on Cypress Ridge, thus halting attempts to develop them and committing the City to preserve them as open space in perpetuity. Their combined size of 13.8 acres is over 90% of the total of 15.1 acres we seek to protect with a conservation easement. The citizens of Sausalito purchased these parcels at a significant expense ($560 thousand in 1976 is $2.6 million today), and they agreed to increase their property taxes for 20 years to pay for it.

Nearly 50 years ago Sausalito spent a great deal of time, effort, and money to create and protect the Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve. Today, it will take little time or money to create a conservation easement that will make this protection permanent. We owe it to the wildlife that lives and visits there to do so, and we owe it to past and future generations of Sausalitans as well.

A Coast Live Oak at Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve.


All donations made at our partner’s website, openspacesausalito.org, will fund this project until its $9,000 budget is met or until December 31, 2021, whichever is first.


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