You don’t improve a beloved woodland by cutting down the trees.
San Mateo County is planning to clear more than 1.7 acres of trees in the middle of Flood Park.
The Reimagine Flood Park project has gone off-track.
For decades, Flood Park offered a balance between a large public woodland on its southwest side, and sports facilities on the northeast. In 2015 the County of San Mateo launched a project to restore and improve the park, called Reimagine Flood Park. You can learn more and see the successive variations of the plan at floodpark.org/reference or at parks.smcgov.org/reimagine-flood-park
Initially, the plans put a high priority on preserving the oak/bay woodlands, balanced with repairing the baseball field, overlaying a soccer practice area on the outfield, and adding a full-size soccer field at the northeast corner.
The soccer field drew objections from the neighborhood over issues of tree removal, noise, and traffic, but was retained in the plan for four years of drafts and Environmental Impact Reports. Then, in September 2020, the planners shifted the field to the middle of the southeastern woodlands. This condemns dozens of woodland trees, changes the balance between the sports and woodland areas, and disrupts areas long used for family celebrations, community events, and just taking a break from urban bustle.
Two months later, with minimal public notice or review, the planners sought and received approval from the Board of Supervisors. These late-in-the-process major changes in the plan are not widely known or understood in the neighborhoods around the park.
Please help save these trees!
You can help refocus the County government’s attention on its original goal of preserving the woodland character of the park.
At this late stage, a good approach is to e-mail or contact the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors directly and let them know what you want. Their e-mail addresses are listed farther down this page.
In addition, you can add your name to a petition that has already been signed by more than 2000 people at www.change.org/p/save-flood-park-native-trees
Even one voice can have a big effect! Don’t let time run out!
Open woodlands are the essence of Flood Park.
Sadly, the latest County Reimagine plan will cut 72 of these trees to make way for fenced-off turf, paved plazas and promenades.
Beneath today’s canopy of oaks and bays, generations have celebrated.
Among the trees, urban bustle and tension can be left behind.
Ironically, on the park system’s website, the County praises Flood Park for the trees it is about to cut down.
“Famous for its large, native Oak and Bay trees, Flood Park is a 21-acre retreat located in the midst of urban development.”
The park opens woodland access to all.
Flood Park is on one edge of the same beautiful and historic woodland that private property owners enjoy in the surrounding cities of Menlo Park and Atherton. It offers free public access for county residents of all income levels. The benefits of nature in the midst of urban development are hard to quantify, but very real, and the trees are a big part of that.
Achieving a good balance with sports
Among the trees, Flood Park has supported both team and personal sports, including baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, fitness stations and more. And, people have long sought to add soccer to the mix.
During the first four years of Reimagine planning, the “Preferred Plan” continued the historic balance between large-scale facilities on the northeast side, and the more natural woodlands of the southwest side. Then, in 2020, planners unexpectedly abandoned that balance and carved out a full size, fenced-off, soccer field in the middle of the woodlands.
Many people extoll the benefits of youth soccer, and say the big need is for more practice and playing areas for youth. But so far, the planners are insisting on constructing two fields of regulation adult tournament size. Youth-sized fields don’t require so much space, and could be fitted into the park with less disruption to the woodland. Practice areas for adults could also share the space, relieving scheduling pressure on the many existing full-size fields nearby.
Although officials insist on calling the plan “final,” adding two regulation-size fields inside the park is not a good outcome to the planning process.
There is a better place to build a soccer field:
Right next to the Flood Park parking lot is the vacant site of the former Flood School. It’s owned by the Ravenswood School District, which is seeking to lease the property. A soccer/lacrosse field would fit comfortably on the site. It’s not clear why the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has chosen to clear Flood Park trees rather than negotiate an agreement with the school board and use this site.
The trees will be cut unless you object now!
The design concept of the Reimagine Flood Park project, including the mid-park soccer field, has been approved by the Board of Supervisors, a contract has been signed for the detailed design, and the project is moving forward.
Please get in touch with the Supervisors right away!
Here’s where to contact them by e-mail.
|County Board of Supervisors|
|Parks Department Director|
To learn more, please visit FloodPark.org
To sign the petition requesting that Flood Park trees be saved, please visit: https://www.change.org/p/save-flood-park-native-trees