Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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The Marin Headlands peninsula is named after Marin County located across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, California. The entire southern portion of the Marin Peninsula is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The headlands are famous for views of the Bay Area and especially of the Golden Gate Bridge.

According to General Vallejo, who in 1850 headed a committee to name California's counties, the county was named for Marin (or Marino), a great chief of the Coast Miwok tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the San Rafael area. Vallejo believed that Chief Marin had waged several fierce battles against the Spanish. The Coast Miwok Indians were hunters and gatherers whose ancestors occupied the area for millennia, and about 600 historical village sites have been identified in the county.

The Marin Headlands is the site of several historic military fortifications, including Fort Cronkhite, Fort Barry, and a large number of bunkers, batteries, and a former Nike Missile silo. From the 1890s, the first military installations were built to prevent hostile ships from entering San Francisco Bay. The batteries at Kirby Cove, above Black Sands Beach, south of Rodeo Beach, and at Battery Mendell are examples of fortifications from the pre-World War I period. During World War II Batteries Wallace, Townsley, and 129 on Hawk Hill were built into the hills to protect them from aerial bombardment. During the Cold War, the gun batteries were decommissioned, but anti-aircraft missile sites were built on the northern and southern sides of Rodeo Lagoon. Radar sites were placed atop Hawk Hill and Hill 88. At several locations, shelters were built into the hillsides to protect military personnel from the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. All military sites in the Headlands are now decommissioned and returned to civilian use. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law "An Act to Establish the Golden Gate National Recreation Area". The bill allocated funds for land acquisition by the National Park Service, and to complete the park in the north bay. The Nature Conservancy purchased the Marin Headlands and then transferred the land to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Marin Headlands here:


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