Monday, January 14, 2013

The ONE movie you should see this year

There is one movie you should see this year and it won't be nominated for an Oscar. You probably won't guess what it is and have probably never heard of it, so I'll just go ahead and tell you. The movie is called "Rebels with a cause", by Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto . Here's just a few reasons why you need to see this film:

Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County

Tomales Bay, Marin County

Marin County Open Space

Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County

Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County
The Marin that could have been... San Francisco's Seacliff Neighborhood. (c) Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman.

The film tells the incredible, somewhat unknown, story of the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore in western Marin County, CA. Starting in the late 1950s, the film chronicles a series of political and environmental battles over proposed developments, highways, resorts, and planned communities that would have transformed the natural landscape into a concrete covered suburban sprawl.

Through the tireless efforts of conversationists, the Point Reyes National Seashore was established in 1962 and represented a new vision for the park service - a national park near an urban center. Further, the park preserved the historical agricultural land use for the ranchers as a "Pastoral Zone" - which is still active today.

The actions of environmentalists in the 1960s paved the way for the establishment of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, signed into law by none other than Richard Nixon in 1972. Again, the park service broke the mold, acquiring land no longer in use by the Army to establish a unique non-contiguous national park around San Francisco, initially comprised of Alcatraz, Fort Mason, and the Marin Headlands.

The spirit of the early conservationists in Marin spread through California, defeating other development projects and freeways as well, such as the Devils Slide bypass south of Pacifica, which would have run a freeway right over the top of Montara mountain. This year, the voter-supported tunnel alternative will finish construction and the old Highway 1 grade across Devils Slide will be converted into a park and coastal trail. 

Conservation work continues in the Point Reyes area today by groups such as the Point Reyes National Seashore Association and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust

It's great to reflect on the rich conservation history here in northern California and develop a deeper appreciation for the open space that we have. But we're not out of the woods yet and this isn't only a California story. Development and suburban sprawl still threatens so much of our natural landscapes all over the country. Whenever I return to my home state of Virgina I notice a new housing development, or a freshly cleared area devoid of trees. I'm not saying that all development is bad, but pay attention to what is going on around you!  It's a slow piecemeal process - a few houses here, a new shopping center there - but pretty soon you'll look around and start to forget what the view once looked like.  

Packed house at the screening of Rebels with a Cause at Point Reyes Station. January 13, 2013.

Find out more in Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast, by L. Martin Griffin.
Visit the Rebels With A Cause Facebook page or on the KRCB website.

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