Marin County to Rename Fire Road After Fatal Shooting

A hiking trail at Marin County's Loma Alta Open Space Preserve.  (Steven Miller/ Flickr)

Marin County officials unanimously voted Tuesday to rename the Gunshot Fire Road west of Fairfax, where a man was shot and killed in October.

The vote comes from the Marin County Open Space District’s Board of Directors after the county's Parks and Open Space Commission voted earlier this year to make the change.

Yoga instructor Steve Carter, 67, had been walking his dog near the fire road off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the Loma Alta Open Space Preserve when he was killed last fall. Investigators have since linked Carter’s death to a murder at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park the previous weekend.

Max Korten, with the Marin County Open Space District, said many community members indicated that the name “Gunshot Fire Road” had become a painful reminder of the tragedy.

Parks staff received several nominations for the change, but decided to move forward with “Sunrise Fire Road” — a name they said recognizes Carter “in its connotation of new beginnings, hope and light.”

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Other nominations included “Love Life Fire Road,” “Steve Carter Memorial Fire Road” and even “Coco Fire Road” after Carter’s dog, who was also shot.

Wendy Botwin was among the Fairfax residents who submitted a nomination.

After spearheading the efforts to rename the trail in October, Botwin spoke at the board meeting earlier Tuesday.

"I feel like it's a huge step of healing for the entire community, and for the future, and for any children that are now going to be using that trail — that it's not a traumatic name and it encourages people to want to be there now again," said Botwin.

According to a letter from Korten to the board of directors, some community members were concerned the change meant failing to preserve the name's historical significance. But neither staff nor local historians were able to identify the origin of the name.

Carl Somers, the district's chief of planning and acquisition, said the district likely acquired the area in 1989, when it was a part of the Circle V Ranch.

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Parks staff has yet to decide if an official rededication ceremony will be held.

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