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Filmmakers Document Creation of Bay Area Parks, Open Space

The documentary 'Rebels With a Cause' highlights the many people who came together to create Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the filmmakers recently spoke about efforts to preserve open space tod

A lot has changed since people came together in the 1950’s and 1980’s to create the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but the general attitude remains the same when it comes to protecting open space.

“You have to work for free, and you have to be crazy,” Filmmaker Kenji Yamamoto joked Monday night after as part of the UNAFF 2012 International Documentary Film Festival.

The film, eight years in the making, was co-presented by the Mill Valley Film Festival where it was also shown. It highlights the lengths volunteers went to to preserve the miles of natural land that stretch along the California coast in Marin and San Francisco. Facing the federal government, private developers, corporations and county supervisors, it takes us from Congressman Clem Miller’s Point Reyes Bill in 1962, rising land prices through the Kennedy and Nixon years, and a national campaign to save not only Point Reyes, but 13 other parks across the country.

“There were a tremendous amount of people involved,” Yamamoto said after the screening. “Ordinary people who really treasured what was around them, and we are so damn lucky they fought so hard.”

The film commemorates Point Reyes’ 50th anniversary, but during a panel discussion local environmentalists brought us back to the present by reminding Marin County voters they will have a chance to help support the preservation of those same lands in the upcoming election.

In addition to Yamamoto and Kelly, the panel included Lennie Roberts a legislative advocate for the Committee for Green Foothills; Audrey Rust, retired president, C.E.O. and executive director of the Peninsula Open Space Trust; and filmmaker Gwenaelle Gobe, whose documentary This Space Available, an examination of billboards and other commercial images prevalent in our outdoor spaces, was shown later that evening.

The panelists talked about preservation efforts today, and Kelly said she believes our relationship with the natural environment has changed over the years – from her own camping trip with successful executives who were afraid to sleep overnight in a tent, to children in East San Jose who have never seen the ocean.

“Just as our income levels are separating more and more, I think our experience with nature is separating more and more,” she said.

Eventually, Kelley and Yamamoto hope to produce a DVD of the documentary that will be shown in California public schools.

“To get young people,” Yamamoto said, “excited about the outdoors.”

The film festival will be showing screenings throughout the Bay Area and runs through Oct. 28.

 

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Mimi Steel November 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM
You are not reporting on the "dark side" of the open space movement. First of all, it usually starts off as someone's PRIVATE PROPERTY. That person or family gets manipulated into a position (through zoning, or taxes, or estate issues, ballot box planning,or political pressure) to sell/surrender their property. Secondly, the surrender is done under the promise of preserving public access forever, yet as the years go by, more restriction are imposed until access is severely restricted (for example GGNRA has now become off limits to dogs). Thirdly, the property is taken off the tax roles which means that the difference has to be made up in other ways. Fourth, once the land is in government hands it is never properly maintained due to funding issues and constant cries for more money to maintain the existing parks. Finally, the land is taken out of production which means that shortages are created making housing unaffordable (it is ironic that many of the groups promoting open space are also promoting affordable housing yet it is their policies that help make housing unaffordable). Realistically the questions are "how much open space is enough" and what are the true costs of setting aside all this open space? These issues are never addressed by the Utopian Statist that want to return the land to "the commons" Time to restore PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS to their rightful place in the Bay Area and in CA and stop this unconstitutional, adminstrative "taking" of property.
Carole Robinson November 05, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Private property is one of our fundamental freedoms. We have given our future over to the environmental lobby. No more. The best way is to own and take care of. Look at "projects". government housing. a hell hole. " they" want people to live in packed housing. Debbie Bacigalupi is running for congress in CA 14 and supports private property rights. Support her
Matt Grocott November 05, 2012 at 10:27 PM
There is a dark side to the "open space movement" and it can be found right in the area that the film makers highlight. Look into the case of Oyster Bay. A family run business is being run out of business because they made a deal with the devil, in this case, the federal government.
Matt Grocott November 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Forgot to mention, per Ms. Robinson's comments above and the support of Debbie Bacigalupi for Congress, she's right about supporting Debbie. Debbie knows the down side of the 'open space movement' because she's had family and friends experience it in northern California, similar to what is going on at Oyster Bay. Her opponent, on the other hand, is in support of regionalism, a movement that goes hand in hand with the open space movement.

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