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Clarification on Access to Wolfback Ridge Road

A press release from the City of Sausalito dated March 14, 2018

On Monday, March 12, 2018, the City of Sausalito began receiving inquiries as to whether or not Wolfback Ridge Road is a publicly accessible conduit to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The answer is no. Although the road is within Sausalito City limits, it is private and restricted to use by neighborhood residents and their guests.

The status of Wolfback Ridge Road as private was confirmed by a state court ruling in 1970, Glass v. Gulf Oil. That case contributed to the delay and ultimate demise of the Marincello development, which would have created a community of 30,000 people in the Marin Headlands, in the jurisdiction of Marin County.

In 2015, inaccurate information in a County of Marin mapping database led Sausalito City staff to erroneously refer to Wolfback Ridge Road as public. The misinformation was corrected in the database, and the County Assessor’s records were updated to reflect that the road is a private right‐of‐way easement, but not before posts citing the inaccurate information from 2015 made their way onto the internet.

Since receiving the new inquiries about Wolfback Ridge Road, the City of Sausalito has endeavored to educate the public about the road’s private status. However, the City has been made aware that people may gather on Wolfback Ridge Road in protest, based on the inaccurate information from 2015. The Sausalito Police will monitor the area to protect the safety of all involved.

For those seeking access to the Golden Gate Recreation Area from Sausalito, the National Park Service recommends the Morning Sun Trail adjacent to the Spencer Avenue parking area, or the Rodeo Avenue Trail at the Rodeo Avenue exit from southbound Highway 101.

For more information, please contact Sausalito City Clerk/Assistant City Manager Lilly Whalen at (415) 289‐4134 or lwhalen@sausalito.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do residents of Wolfback Ridge pay property taxes to the City of Sausalito?
Yes.

Does the Sausalito Police Department provide law enforcement services to residents of Wolfback Ridge?
Yes.

Are residents of Wolfback Ridge subject to City of Sausalito ordinances and building codes?

Yes.

In its press release, the City of Sausalito refers to the road being accessible to "neighborhood residents and their guests." How are you defining "neighborhood"?
By "neighborhood," we meant people with residences on Wolfback Ridge Road, Cloudview Trail, or Wolfback Terrace.

Does the City of Sausalito maintain Wolfback Ridge Road?
No. As a private road, maintenance is the responsibility of residents. The status of Wolfback Ridge Road as private was confirmed by a state court ruling in 1970, Glass v. Gulf Oil.

Who paid for the recent work on the overpass leading to Wolfback Ridge Road?
The work was performed and paid for by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and involved upgrading the guardrails on the overpass to conform to current standards to protect traffic on Highway 101. Caltrans work in the area also included restoring vehicle and pedestrian lighting on Highway 101, the Monte Mar/Spencer frontage road, the Spencer Avenue undercrossing at 101, and both park and ride lots. The overpass and the area immediately beyond the overpass are public.

What is the history of the 101 overpass that leads to Wolfback Ridge Road?
The overpass was constructed in 1955 by the State of California to accommodate the new split-lane configuration of 101 when the second bore of the Waldo Tunnel (today known as “the Robin Williams Tunnel”) was built. Without the overpass, the previously-accessible private land on the west side of 101 would have been cut off. Any questions about state funds paying for infrastructure to access private roads should be directed to Caltrans at (916) 654-2852.

How can I view a Marin County Assessor's map of Wolfback Ridge Road?
Visit the website of the Marin County Assessor and enter "64" in the " Map Book" prompt and "27 in the "Map Page" prompt to view the map.

What do the references in the note on the Assessor's Map mean?
The note says: "The boundaries of Wolfback Ridge Rd and Cloudview Trail, as shown upon this map, represent a 40' wide utilities & private Right-Of-Way easement only (as per RS 2006-206, OS 02-137 & OS 36-078." RS is a Record of Survey and OS is an Official Survey. These documents are maps that are held in the Marin County Recorder's Office.

How do I access the GGNRA trails without driving up the private road?
For those seeking access to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area from Sausalito, the National Park Service recommends the Morning Sun Trail adjacent to the Spencer Avenue parking area, or the Rodeo Avenue Trail at the Rodeo Avenue exit from southbound Highway 101.

If the National Park Service owns land that can only be reached via a private road, does the public have a right to use the private road? According to the map, the NPS owns an island of land that can only be accessed via Wolfback Ridge Road.
According to the National Park Service, access to the parcel described as an "island" of land (which is a very steep and small piece of property directly north of Wolfback Ridge Road and not congruent with other NPS property) is limited to NPS staff access for trash pick-up, weed management, and monitoring of the endangered Mission blue butterfly. Public access of this property is not allowed. The only time Wolfback Ridge Road is used is by park staff is for park work, and clearly identified vehicles are used.

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