During 2020, there was a lot of focus on keeping parks open, safe and welcoming for visitors. Park rangers had their hands full with cleaning bathrooms, picking up litter, clearing trails and talking with people. That’s only part of the work. San Mateo County Parks has been busy with park plans and projects too. Here are five projects we have our eyes on.
5-Year Wildfire Fuel Management Program
The CZU lightning complex fire that burned parts of Butano and Big Basin State Parks as well as San Mateo County’s own Pescadero Creek County Park was a big wakeup call. San Mateo County Parks has made it a significant priority to help parklands recover quickly from fire and be better able to withstand fire in the future, as well as to ensure the protection of nearby homes and lives.
In order to do this, SMC Parks crafted a 5-year wildfire fuel management program that identifies 32 projects covering a total of 1,830 acres using a 14-point scoring matrix to identify the biggest threats that need the most attention now. Most of the work will focus on removing tall brush and dead or dying vegetation found along park boundaries, fire roads and residential roads. This is the type of fuel that is often responsible for helping wildfire spread.
After the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Flood Park Landscape Plan in November 2020, the planning process moved onto the design and construction phase.
The landscape plan includes many new features, such as a basketball court, a pump track (the second one coming to a county park!), an all abilities play area, a demonstration garden, and soccer and baseball fields. To address neighbors’ concerns about noise, the soccer field was moved away from back fences and is now combined with the ballfield, with a smaller soccer/ lacrosse field adjacent to Bay Road. Flood Park is long overdue for improvements and the plan addresses a big challenge facing communities throughout the Bay Area – a dearth of sports playing fields for youth.
In time for the 2021 camping season, new accessible bathroom and shower buildings with accessible water fountains have been installed at the Sequoia, Redwood and Tan Oak areas of Memorial Park. Campsites will feature new redwood picnic tables and barbeque grills (the old stone fire pits will remain!). If you’ve been patiently waiting to camp at this historic park, you will be pleasantly surprised when you arrive.
And this is just the latest round of improvements at Memorial which will continue until the Park’s centennial in 2024. Other improvements include a new waste water treatment plant and re-surfaced park roads.
Tunitas Creek Beach
In February, the Board of Supervisors approved the preferred conceptual design for the Tunitas Creek Beach Improvement Project, a partnership between SMC Parks, POST and the Coastal Conservancy. This soon-to-be-newest park in our county park system is a gorgeous section of rugged California coastline.
Improvements include parking that is protected from Highway 1, safe pedestrian beach access and visitor amenities like overlook points, picnic areas and a nature trail. Snowy plover habitat will be enhanced and protected, with a beach boardwalk offering non-intrusive access. The park is expected to open in fall 2022.
Quarry Park Pump Track
One element of the Quarry Park Master Plan is moving ahead based on community support and that is the pump track. This will be the first of two pump tracks coming to SMC Parks, with the second one slated for Flood Park.
The preferred concept shows a pump track located in the meadow with tracks for beginners and those who are more advanced. A perimeter skills trail will include features like a boulder garden and log line. We can see why the community is excited for this project which we anticipate will be completed later this summer.