On Sept. 19 starting at 5:30 p.m., local historian Rue Ziegler will reflect on the first 45 years of the groundbreaking legislation known locally as the Ag Preserve. Her address will be at the Goodman Library, 1219 First St. in Napa.
According to a 2008 book by Paul Franson, “The State of California talked of building a major highway through the valley while regional planners had considered placing the Bay Area’s fourth major airport in the marshes south of Carneros, and the Army Corps of Engineers suggested turning the Napa River into a concrete channel like the once-flowing Los Angeles River. Projections envisioned 200,000 people in the city of Napa by 2000, half a million by 2020. ... Locals saw that rising land values would soon mean that property would be worth far more for development than for the nuts, fruit, dairy and cattle, grapes and other agricultural products then grown in the county. ...
“Thus in 1968 ... Napa enacted changes in its county code that implemented an agricultural preserve. This tough-won, forward-thinking act, the best-known part called the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve ... lies primarily between the towns of Napa and Calistoga. It originally protected 26,000 acres of the valley floor and foothills and has since grown to more than 38,000 acres. ... Beyond the protection of the valley floor, the county also designated a huge area as Agriculture, Watershed and Open Space. Together, the two total 482,000 acres and represent 91 percent of the county’s 505,859 acres.”
The event, open to the public, will include a question-and-answer session. Reservations are encouraged but not required. For information, call 224-1739 or go to NapaHistory.org. It is sponsored by the Napa County Historical Society and Napa County Landmarks.