Skip to main content

Planning & Conservation

Open Space Planning

Long-range planning is a crucial element in forecasting future park and open space expansion and acquisition that will serve current and future resident needs and demands for increased public access, use, and experiences. This form of planning requires an extensive knowledge and understanding of district-wide land ownership, land uses and values, zoning and general plan policies, GIS mapping, and a “big-picture” perspective. This routine type of planning provides the blueprints for land use decisions and actions which ensure consistency with the District’s mission to “preserve and protect open space” and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.

Land Use Planning

Short-term planning focuses on policies, guidelines, and permits that together enable the District to open to the public and develop its parklands and open space in ways that support public use and enjoyment while also protecting environmental values.  Obtaining County, regulatory, and municipal permits; constructing trails and visitor improvements that enhance visitor experiences; designing natural resources research and restoration projects; implementing natural resources conservation programs; all these activities require careful documentation, deliberation, community involvement, and effective implementation.

Natural Resources Conservation

Central to the District’s mission is parkland and open space conservation; the ecologically-based stewardship of plants, animals, water, soil, terrain, geologic formations, and historic, scenic, and cultural features. Everything within the District’s parks and open spaces are protected and conserved by the District as public trust assets for current and future generations. Without them the District’s parks and open spaces would lose all their beauty, inspiration, life-support, and value.

Conservation is a complex, multi-faceted issue.  The District faces many choices in managing its parklands and open spaces.  The ecosystem is constantly changing as species come and go, as weather fluctuates, and climate changes.  There are also many competing interests between users, uses, available funding, techniques, perceptions, and parkland neighbors.  To this end, the District has adopted an adaptive management strategy that strives to maintain an ecologically sound land management ethic that is responsive to the changing conditions of the land and encourages public access.

For more information on specific documents, programs, projects, or activities related to any of the District’s many parks and open space lands please call (831) 372-3196 ext. 101 or email