According to The Mercury News, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield has turned over 1,000 acres of land overlooking California’s Lucas Valley as open space that will end up with the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.
In late 2016, Luiz Ranch Inc., which is owned by James and his wife Francesca, approached the Marin County Open Space District and MALT with a proposal to transfer the property rights to 240 additional acres and connect it to two existing easements held by the Open Space District, which combined accounted for 760 acres of preserved private open space.
In a statement, the Hetfields said: “Our family is very happy to work with MCOSD and MALT on re-establishing agriculture and maintaining the scenic corridor of the ranch. We believe this is a huge community benefit, and one of our goals is to keep agriculture on the ranch for a very long time.”
The properties are in a rural, rolling hills area about six miles northwest of downtown San Rafael and about four miles west of Highway 101. They are not far from the privately owned Skywalker Ranch, directly across Lucas Valley Road from the Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve and just north of the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve.
Hetfield purchased 1,150 acres in Lucas Valley in 1999.
In 2008, Hetfield angered hikers, bikers and equestrians when he built a 300-foot-long 8-to 10-foot-high corrugated metal silver fence adorned with barbed wire at its far edges to prevent people from hiking and riding through his ranch property.
James said in a 2016 interview that he moved his family from the San Francisco area, where he and METALLICA have been based for 35 years, to Vail, because he didn’t feel as if he belonged in the Bay Area anymore. “I kind of got sick of the Bay Area, the attitudes of the people there, a little bit,” he said. “They talk about how diverse they are, and things like that, and it’s fine if you’re diverse like them. But showing up with a deer on the bumper doesn’t fly in Marin County. My form of eating organic doesn’t vibe with theirs.”