Originally named Mount Tamalpais Interpretive Association, the organization was formed in June 1983, when a group of about 10 people became Mount Tamalpais State Park Volunteers. In 1985, the Association was incorporated and acquired non-profit status. Founders include Jack and Margaret Tucker, Bonnie and Jack James, Laura Svendsgaard, Alane O’Rielly and Dorothy Gibson. In March 2013, MTIA was renamed Friends of Mt Tam.
The original group staffed the Visitor Center on weekends. Later, it expanded to leading hikes on the mountain.Today, members of Friends of Mt Tam staff the Visitor Center on weekends and holidays, where they suggest the best places on the mountain to visit, and assist people in planning new hikes or finding alternate routes home. They also answer queries regarding the history of the area, identify the flora and fauna, and provide practical advice on a wide variety of topics.
The Gravity Car Barn, opened in May 2009, houses a replica of a gravity car and an interpretive display from the days of “The Crookedest Railroad in the World” – the Mill Valley & Muir Woods Railway – which ran on Mt. Tamalpais from 1896 to 1929. It too is open on weekends, staffed by volunteers.
Friends of Mt Tam continues to lead hikes for the public every Saturday and Sunday as well as on holidays, Wednesday evenings during the summer and moonlight hikes each month on the full moon, all of which are free.
Another popular program we sponsor is our Astronomy Program, ongoing for 25 years, on the new moon of the months of April through October. These programs are held at the Mountain Theater and are also free for the public.