A Marin County Parks rendering of one possible future design for the Mill Valley-Sausalito Multi-Use Path. Courtesy image.

Since its debut in 1981, the Mill Valley-Sausalito Multiuse Path along the 106-acre Bothin Marsh has long been one of the most popular paths in the entire Bay Area, with more than a half-million recreational users between March and November each year, according to the annual WalkBikeMarin Path Counts.

Anecdotally, that usage has only increased during the COVID-19 era, as residents are getting out of the house as often as possible for exercise, recreation and some interaction with nature.

​But anyone who’s used the path during a King High Tide, or even a regular high tide during parts of the year, has no doubt that the path’s long-term future is perilous. Sea Level Rise in Marin County is a when – not if – fact of life. Climate experts estimate that by 2100, sea levels could rise by around 70 inches and that the frequency, intensity and flood-effects of storms will increase. And Bothin Marsh could will lose a significant amount of vital wetland habitat by 2030.

So what do we do about it? 

Since 2016, Marin County Parks has been focusing on this issue as part of the “Evolving Shorelines” initiative from One Tam, a collaboration of public land agencies dedicated to the long-term health of Mount Tamalpais and its surrounding regions, including the National Park Service, California State Parks, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and Marin Municipal Water District. The effort kicked off with a needs assessment and research reports on the march’s ​geomorphology, ecology, and conservation options. Then came an event series like an “Evolving Shorelines Happy Hour” about adapting to sea level rise, hands-on experiential activities, like kayaking during King Tides, a “public visioning process and the creation of Bothin Marsh vision document last year.

The effort drew an array of acclaim for its inspiring, educational “StoryWalk” installation in 2019 based around a series of enlarged book pages from “A Stone Sat Still,” a book by children’s author and illustrator Brendan Wenzel that tracks the life of a stone from season to season as it evolves from “a shelter, a home, a kitchen, even a throne. Even as its environment starts to change, the stone remains, and the book’s last pages leave a timely and poignant message about caring for our world, according to its publisher, Chronicle Books.

OK, That All Sounds Good, But Now What?

Now the collaborative wants to share its “Adaptation Concepts” with the community, including multiple options for a complete redesign of the Mill Valley-Sausalito Pathway as well as tidal marsh enhancements. A community meeting on the subject is set for Thursday, Oct. 15, 5-6pm via Zoom. RSVP Required.

The artist rendering above shows one of three concepts for a future shoreline pathway at Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve.

RSVP Required.
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