THE HERITAGE OF BUCK’S LANDING
By Cynthia Landecker
We were struck by a July 12 IJ article, “Marin considers $1.9 million expansion of Buck’s Landing.” We remember Buck’s Landing when it was a low-key boating and fishing dock near the mouth of Gallinas Creek on San Pablo Bay. It wasn’t a posh Marin yacht harbor for well-dressed sailors. It was just a few buildings and a dock on the edge of the water, surrounded in large part by marshland, where ordinary folks fished and boated. Those in the know could get drinks at the bar, of course.
The site was purchased by the County of Marin in 2020 for a county park. The old bar was closed. The old wooden dock was deemed unsafe, but there is a new boat ramp offering access to Gallinas Creek. Comments on Facebook’s Santa Venetia page were: “Sad to see Buck's gone.” And, “I miss the bar--replaced by a port-a-pottie and picnic table at the cost of 1.3 million.”
According to one old-timer, the bar ran on the honor system when the host wasn’t present. Patrons could come in, pour themselves a drink, mark it on a list and just hang out.
And fishing was good in “the old days”: sturgeon, striped bass, flounder, even salmon, could be caught off the dock.
Undated Photo of Buck’s Landing Buildings.
The IJ said that before it was Buck’s, the property was the site of a Remillard brickyard in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and that recreational use didn’t begin until 1957, when Joe Nerviani ran Joe’s Boat Launching there. However, a 1934 cartoon map of San Rafael shows the property as “George’s Gallinas Beach”, so there must have been a George, as well as a Joe, before Buck.
Now the County wants to expand the park by buying 71 contiguous acres owned by the Smith family. This will add 33 acres to public lands along San Pablo Bay. One-fourth of the site consists of salt marsh, tidal flats, and salt pans. There is a 5.2 mile easy hike along Gallinas Creek, great for bird-watching.
So while San Rafaelites enjoy this beautiful spot now that it is a park, they can remember its heritage: the brick makers, boaters, bar host and patrons, hunters and fishermen who made this simple place alive in past years.
July 2022 Photo of Buck’s Landing Buildings.