Appreciating the Legacy of Saving the Bay

San Francisco Bay
What if the Bay was just a shipping channel?     Photo by Dan Sullivan

Five years ago, I left my home in Boston for what I thought was a year-long stint working in San Francisco. This summer, I returned for a visit to indulge in New England summertime, happy to escape the San Francisco fog. I grew up in Vermont where July means ice cream cones and swimming holes, hiking trails and concerts in the park. I spent my college years in Boston where you can take a commuter rail to white sand beaches and the park system forms an Emerald Necklace. Summers are spent outside in the open spaces that I once took for granted. As I’ve learned more about the modern environmental movement, I’ve realized that public access to natural spaces is not a value that everyone shares and that protecting these spaces is the result of campaigns waged by visionaries.

Save The Bay’s work is grounded in the legacy of such visionaries, three women who stood up against developers in 1961. Celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary last year, I learned to tell the story of this great history. But it was this May during the Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary, standing on the Bay shoreline near Crissy Field and looking out over the treasured Bay, that I uncovered an overwhelmingly deep appreciation for the environmentalists who saved this Bay.

What if the Bay was just a shipping channel? What if my childhood memories of New England were filled with billboards and strip malls instead of mountains and rivers? I am determined to never take these natural treasures for granted again, and to continue the fight to ensure open spaces for the children who grow up 50 years from now.

– Monica Canfield-Lenfest, Communications Assistant