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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

July, 2008


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Marin Open Space Trust Announces Formal Launch;
Hires Executive Director John Leydecker

The Board of Directors of the Marin Open Space Trust ("MOST"), a non-profit land trust based in Marin County, recently announced its official formation and the hiring of John K. Leydecker of San Rafael to be its Executive Director. MOST's mission is to raise money and work collaboratively with various open space organizations in Marin to acquire, protect and provide stewardship funds for key land conservation projects in Marin County. MOST intends to raise a minimum of $20,000,000 over the next five years to fulfill that mission.
Bill Long, the Chair of MOST, said that "MOST is critically needed right now to fill an ever-widening gap between available funding for open space acquisition and stewardship and the $300,000,000 that is required to fulfill open space plans and programs in Marin County. As a private entity with access to grants, foundation aid and private donor funds, MOST will leverage the funds it raises together with monies available to various local open space agencies and become a key component in financing open space and parks acquisition and stewardship in Marin."

John Leydecker, the newly appointed Executive Director, said that "Marin has fabulous existing open space and parks, yet there is still a tremendous amount of land that could be and should be protected and preserved as open space or parkland. The actual benefits of open space and parks go far beyond simple scenic and recreational values. Open space provides habitat protection for rare and endangered species, it helps protect our valuable watersheds, it spatially defines our communities, it preserves property values, it creates useful linkages between isolated areas, it provides for all manner of outdoor activities and it is the backbone of our county trail system. Marin parks provide a wide variety of inexpensive recreation opportunities and gathering areas for residents and visitors alike. A healthy and dynamic open space and parks system provides all these benefits and more to the community".

The Board of Directors, which is led by Bill Long of Novato, a longtime County Parks and Open Space Commissioner, also includes Phil Paisley of Ross, another longtime Open Space Commissioner, Mike Howe of San Geronimo, who currently serves on the Board of Greenbelt Alliance, Ralph Mihan, who oversaw the acquisition of more than 1,000,000 acres of land for the National Park Service and David Hansen, recently retired from a 33-year career acquiring and managing open space for the Marin County Open Space District, Mid-peninsula Regional Open Space District and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.

MOST was primarily formed to assist Marin County Open Space District in completing its land conservation goals. The County's goal of preserving 30,000 acres of open space was confirmed by voters who overwhelmingly passed Measure A in 1972, and that goal was reaffirmed in the recent Countywide General Plan Update. Today MCOSD has nearly 16,000 acres preserved, about half of that initial goal. MOST will also work with the various conservation organizations and concerned residents in every town and city in Marin in order to help raise funds for land conservation projects that lie outside the Open Space District's scope of operations.

Executive Director John Leydecker has a background in real estate and finance along with experience in nonprofit conservation work, having worked since its inception with "Friends of Trinity River", a group dedicated to restoring the Northern California river.

Mr. Leydecker added that "As a lifelong Marin resident, I have a keen desire and a strong passion to see the unique natural character of Marin preserved, especially our most precious wildlands, key recreational areas and properties with high ecological value." He also said that "I am extremely excited to be following in the footsteps of the countless Marin residents who have worked so hard for so many years to preserve the incomparable natural assets of Marin that we all treasure so much and which make Marin such a wonderful place to live, work and play."

MOST is currently seeking donations to fund startup operations and initial land acquisitions at: P.O. Box 4133, Civic Center, San Rafael, CA 94913. Checks are tax-deductible when made out to: MOST c/o County of Marin.

MOST's website is www.marinopenspacetrust.org, and it encourages anyone interested in our mission to contact Executive Director John Leydecker for more information at 415-419-5878.



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