Bay Area Briefs

Thursday September 26, 2002

5,000 acre additon to Golden Gate recreation area approved 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation today that will add 5,000 acres to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

In a written statement released today, bill sponsor Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, said, "All Californians have cause to celebrate today's vote.'' 

House bill 1953 expands the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to include Rancho Corral de Tierra, Devil's Slide and Martini Creek. 

"The new additions to the GGNRA covered by my legislation will be accessible to more than 6 million people who live within a one hour's drive of the park and will provide national park programs and experiences to millions of national and international visitors,'' said Lantos. 

Congress also approved a proposal to add another 10 years to the life of the Point Reyes National Seashore Citizens Seashore Advisory Commission. 

A Senate version of the bill passed earlier this year. Both pieces of legislation must by reconciled before a final vote, which is expected soon. 

Deadline passes for  

tree squatters to leave 

BRISBANE — The 30-day deadline for Besh Serdahely and Thelma Caballero to move out of their oak tree home of 12 years expired Wednesday, but the squatters say they’re not leaving without a fight. 

“She’s going to be hauled out in handcuffs. It’s going to take a big ol’ sheriff,” Serdahely said. “Nobody will convict her, it’s real. She really needs that place.” 

San Mateo County officials stapled a notice to the tree in a county park telling the couple that if they remained beyond the deadline, they could be cited for trespassing. 

Deputy County Manager Mary McMillan says she doesn’t want it to come to that, which is why county officials, mental health workers and housing coordinators will continue visiting the couple in hopes of persuading them to come down from San Bruno mountain. 

“We’re going to keep going up there with housing options and potentials for them should they find them appropriate,” she said. “It’s too bad, frankly. But what’s most important is doing what’s best for them. First and foremost, that’s what everyone is concerned with.” 

McMillan said the couple will not be evicted from the tree, but they also will not be permitted to stay. She said there’s no clean drinking water, human waste is being handled improperly and the environment is unsafe. 

“There was a 14-acre fire near there just last week,” she said. “The county is concerned for their health and safety and is not going to let them continue to inhabit the park.” 

Authorities moved to evict the couple after a recent review of property lines revealed that the hideaway is on land owned by the county rather than the state.