FloodPark Oaks - slated for cutting

Woodland at Flood Park

Update May 23, 2022: County Parks has revised the Flood Park plan with a new layout that appears to preserve much more of the woodland and keeps all sports fields on the sports side of the park. This was just announced and we hope to learn more and gain an understanding of the details. For now, please view the County Park’s announcement.

The woodland is one of the most important features of Flood Park. It provides the habitat for dozens of wild bird species. This habitat provides insects, funguses, and other food sources. It provides important nesting environment, including dead wood, knot holes, and protected canopy for birds to raise their young. Hawks and owls are also an important part of Flood Park’s ecology and help keep the rodent population in check. Nature’s life cycle should be on display at Flood Park. Our supported is needed to insure this. For details on Flood Park Birds, please visit the Bird webpage.

While the borders of the park have a line of trees, it is the central heritage woodland and the many other mature trees that are so treasured. In this half of South-East San Mateo County, there are no parks, city or county, that provide the unique native environment and nature that Flood Park provides. It is unique in this aspect of providing to the public, families, children, and even organizations a setting amongst the trees and wild life that the woodland contains.

One of the reasons for this website is that the heart of the heritage woodland and those beautiful picnic areas within it were under threat of being gutted by the County Parks 2020 Reimagine Plan. Gutted is a strong word, yet it use here seems appropriate as the County Park’s plan, the Reimagine Project 2020, would have cutdown a huge percentage of the trees that comprise the heart of the heritage woodland. County states*: “It is estimated that tree removal during Phase I would include up to 40 significant trees with a circumference of at least 38 inches. Ground disturbance during construction also could encroach on the root zone of remaining mature trees, impairing their health.” County goes on to explain* that “The Landscape Plan will have a potentially significant impact on scenic resources due to the loss of mature trees …” (emphasis added)

The interactive photo below is from the Pine picnic area, in the heart of the woodland. It shows, by dragging the center control bar left or right the impact that the county 2020 project would have done to the Heritage Grove area of the woodland:

San Mateo County Parks describes the park woodland, “Flood Park is dominated by a number of stunning heritage oaks and California laurels. The Park is quite flat, with large areas of lawn. Squirrels are common. Commonly seen birds include mockingbirds, woodpeckers, scrub jays, red-tailed hawks, and other raptors.” County also states that “The shady picnic areas beneath the Park’s gorgeous trees are popular gathering spots for families and large groups.”

This is true, picnicking and family use are by far the most popular use of the park. Many of the surrounding neighborhoods like North Fair Oaks, Belle Haven, and East Palo Alto use the park for picnics because their neighborhoods lack any thing close to natural woodlands and shaded picnic areas that Flood Park provides.


Interactive Flood Park Map

In the following map, you can click various items in the list to the right of the map in order to explore changes proposed for Flood Park. As a point of reference, the current park walking paths are shown in yellow as a reference guide to the various images.

1983 Park Design
Current Park Design
2015-2019 Preferred Plan
2020 Reimagine Design
Current Satellite
NEW – 2022 Revised Plan – NEW
Trees to be Removed by 2020 Plan
Current Fields vs Proposed

Reference – FAQ

The following FAQ section pertains to concerns, issues, and other comments related to sports at Flood Park.

Woodland

We are hoping to get a list of stakeholders, people and organizations, that have requested changes; and/or, those that have a vested interest in some of the changes. Thus far, County has not identified these entities, but we hope to get the list soon.

Waiting for county response.

Many want the large soccer – multipurpose field that is located in the sports side of the park to be built first and thus delay the cutting of the majority of trees in the historic Heritage Grove area in the woodland. This delay could potentially be a substantial cost savings.

As it stands now (2022) County plans to cut down the heart of the woodland to build a 2nd sports field in the middle of the nature area of the park. At the same time, County could be leasing from the Ravenswood school district the 2.5 acre Flood School property that is currently vacant with no buildings (see Extend).

The money ear marked for the woodland destruction and the 2nd soccer field could instead be used to build a full size soccer/lacrosse field on this 2.5 acres old school site. It is just next to the freeway end of the large baseball field at Flood Park, a natural extension for the park.

Local community youth sports and after school programs have identified that more fields are needed in North Fair Oaks (NFO), Belle Haven, and East Palo Alto (EPA); however, county could be facilitating the use of many existing fields in the immediate areas through establishing use agreements with city parks, school districts, private schools, and commercial fields. Many of these appear to be unused and available during the most recent soccer and lacrosse season (see Draft Sport Field Inventory report).


Ways to Take Action and Help

As we have seen with the May 23rd change to County Reimagine Plans, is that our actions work: Speaking out, of supporting efforts to get the word out to correct ill thought plans, and to petition County to change the park plans to better represent the community desires. Now the field that would have destroyed the heart of the heritage grove and ruin the nature of the park has been moved to the field sports side of the park. This preserves the woodland – the nature side of the park – so that activates, picnics, walks, moments of solitude can be enjoyed without the noise and whistles of field sports. A calmer, quieter, and more peaceful area.

We feel that the woodland should be preserved and the stewardship of the nature of the park put in place. For too long, the lack of this steward ship has resulted in rundown features, poor tree health, unusable amenities. Had County simply provided maintenance to the park, kept the tennis courts, baseball and softball fields in usable condition, we could save millions of tax dollars. Had competent and effective stewardship been in place, the tree health would be much better and new trees would be well on their way to insuring future generations with a beautiful natural area. Today, only a few Heritage trees remain in the park, with 3 being lost just last year. That loss was 33% of the heritage trees. The most current tree health analysis shows that the majority of the trees do not even rate as ‘good’ or better.

One key step that could be taken to relieve the impact on Flood Park trees and prevent most of the trees currently slated for cutting down would be to support plans to use the old abandoned Flood School property, 2.5 acres, for public park use, then additional multipurpose field, basketball, and accessable playgrounds could be available there instead of having to cut down trees and spend millions on changes that would not be necessary if that 2.5 acres were used as park space.

Other ways to help:

  • Let others know of this website so they can come up to speed on what is happening
  • Support the effort to have the old Flood School property be used for park use
  • Stay in touch – be notified when public meetings on the Reimagine plan are occurring
  • Sign the petition to Extend Flood Park to add more sports AND thus save the woodland and family picnic capacity.
  • Sign the petition to Save Flood Park native trees
  • Provide your feedback, ideas, questions, and concerns using the comment form below
  • Sign up for County updates on the County’s Reimagine Project page — Here
  • We plan on doing online surveys here — please participate in those as they appear

Feedback Form: Woodland and Nature Areas

The following feedback form is where everyone that has concerns, ideas, or other feedback can participate. These provide yet another way for our community to provide input to county parks and management.

Preservation of the woodland trees is under consideration here. This means that an additional lacrosse field would not be placed in the woodland. Lacrosse would be in the multipurpose field. County could negotiate use of additional lacrosse fields with local city parks, area private schools, and local school districts.
The old site of the Flood Elementary school, along the Hwy 101 boundary of the park, is a 2.5 acre site that should be actively considered to be used as park land. This would expand the sports fields at the park without having to destroy the core of the woodland. This is vacant land, as all school building were removed.

What is 3 + three?


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