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Ariel View of Golden Gate Bridge

The Place

Marin County, a bridge away from San Francisco, is a gorgeous, problematic little world. Taxpayers nationwide have helped buy its magnificent parks; local efforts have placed half of its farmland under agricultural conservation easement. Its biodiversity is extraordinarily high; its human diversity extraordinarily low. Big choices lie ahead as the state brings pressure to house more people and as sea level rise and violent weather swings, results of global warming, upset old expectations. To help ground ongoing debates, Marinites and Marin-watchers need a deep knowledge of how the county got to where it is now: the marvelous natural endowment and its fortunes; the gains, losses, wrangles, transformations that have made Marin simultaneously an environmental model and for some a cautionary tale.

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