Marty Griffin dies at 103, leaving legacy of land conservation, environmental leadership


Marty Griffin was among a generation of pioneering conservationists who fought off development pressure and paved the way for protection of large swaths of the Marin-Sonoma Coast.

He didn’t do it alone. But the vast, open landscape of rolling hills and coastal waterways that draws nature lovers to the Marin-Sonoma coast might have looked a whole lot different had Marty Griffin not been around.

Imagine a freeway, whole communities, housing for tens of thousands, a mall, coastal villas, even a nuclear plant on the huge swath of coastline now dominated by nature preserves, public parks and agriculture.

Griffin and other early conservationists mobilized during the 1960s and ‘70s―as intense development pressures threatened to alter the North Bay landscape profoundly―and fought to thwart that outcome, shifting the region’s culture in ways that are evident in the lands now protected.

Since his death at home in Belvedere on May 22 at the impressive age of 103, Griffin has been remembered not just for his commitment to the cause but for his passion and leadership, the “clever,” “wily” manner in which he approached each challenge and his refusal to back down.