100_5562.jpg A tip of the hat this week to Rod Ruiz, supervising ranger for Marin County parks. When alerted 10 days ago to a paradox at White House Pool (no scenery visible from some scenic overlooks along Papermill Creek), he promptly fixed the problem.


White House Pool Park is named after a wide spot in Papermill/Lagunitas Creek. Bounded by that creek to the east and Point Reyes Station’s levee road to the west, the park stretches from the Olema Creek tributary to a parking lot near the intersection of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Bear Valley Road. At each end is a rustic bridge.


Meandering the length of the park is a storybook-like path through lush foliage, making it popular with West Marin residents from seniors out for a stroll to bicyclists to dog walkers. As can be seen at upper left, here and there along the way, county Parks and Open Space has cut narrow lanes that branch off the main path and tunnel through foliage to the edge of the levee. At the end of each lane, permanent benches overlooking Papermill Creek provide places for walkers to rest and enjoy the scenery.

Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, foliage in front of half the benches got so high that views of the creek and the landscape beyond it were lost. Here Linda Petersen of Point Reyes Station two weeks ago tries to again spot four river otters she’d seen fishing just downstream the previous day. But from this lane and the bench at the end of it, the creek was mostly hidden. Linda was able to move to another vantage point, but her options were relatively few.

This week, Linda’s aging dog Sebastian had a much better view from the same bench. His vision needs all the help it can get, so the change was probably dramatic for him too. What had changed? Ten days ago, ranger Ruiz was told that although the benches had been been anchored where they would provide scenic views, there were no longer any views from several benches. The county was, in effect, maintaining lanes through foliage that came to dead-ends in more foliage. Ruiz said he would make sure the lanes were properly taken care of and did. It should be stressed that the county did not remove vegetation from the creek bank (i.e. riparian vegetation) but merely trimmed foliage on top of the levee. Those who enjoy looking out at the views from White House Pool can credit supervising ranger Ruiz with looking out for them.