News

New name, new rules: Foothills Park is in for more changes

City Council to consider creating an annual pass, refining visitor cap for popular nature preserve

Deer graze at Las Trampas Valley in Foothills Park near Buckeye Creek in February 2018. The City Council is set to officially rename the popular destination to Foothills Nature Preserve on Feb. 22. File photo by Veronica Weber.

When Palo Alto leaders voted last November to allow the broader public to visit Foothills Park, they officially closed a large, decades-long debate but opened a slew of smaller ones.

Many of these will return to center stage on Monday night, when the City Council will debate and possibly adopt rule changes for accessing Foothills Park. It also will consider a menu of new recommendations from the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, including further refinements of the visitor cap to the park, creation of an annual pass for park entry and enactment of discount rates for low-income visitors and those with disabilities.

Also, to underscore its environmentally sensitive nature, the council is set to officially change the park's name to the Foothills Nature Preserve, a move that was unanimously endorsed in recent weeks by both the parks commission and the Palo Alto Historical Association.

The city's policies for managing the park have been in a state of flux since Dec. 17, when the new policy allowing nonresidents to enter the park took effect. The number of visitors instantly spiked, with about 33,637 people visiting the park between Dec. 17, 2020, and Jan. 2 — up from 5,687 visitors over the same period in the prior year, according to Daren Anderson, division manager at the Community Services Department.

Concurrently, the council has seen a spike of anecdotes about traffic jams, parking shortages and environmental damage, including a growing number of "social trails" — pathways made by visitors who veer off existing trails. Anderson said the problems are particularly noticeable at Vista Hill and Boronda Lake.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

The council reacted to these trends on Feb. 1, when it adopted an emergency ordinance lowering the number of visitors who can be at the park at any one time from 750 to 400, while giving staff leeway to raise it to 500. Council members also voted to charge $6 for park entry, though the fee has yet to take effect.

Both changes were intended to be stop-gap measures that would only remain in place until the city gathers more data and hammers out long-term policies for managing the preserve. On Monday, the council will consider the city's next steps for adopting these policies.

The Parks and Recreation Commission, meanwhile, has offered its own ideas. On Feb. 11, the commission unanimously recommended raising the limit to 650 visitors at any one time, while allowing staff to adjust the limit to as low as 300 if needed. The commission also supported creating an annual pass, which would cost residents $50. Nonresidents would be required to pay $65. Seniors, veterans and individuals currently serving in the military would receive 25% discounts, while low-income visitors would get reductions between 25% and 50%.

The commission also voted 5-2 to recommend a 25% discount for individuals with disabilities. The two dissenting commissioners, Vice Chair Jeff Greenfield and Commissioner Amanda Brown, both supported allowing free entry for vehicles with disability license plates or placards.

In discussing the visitor limit, the commission considered the city's recent experience with the new 400-person cap. Anderson said that on Feb. 6, the first Saturday since the policy was adopted, the city had to bar entry into the park three times because the number of visitors reached the capacity limit. The following day, the city raised the limit to 500. Once again, it closed the park three times because of the capacity limit.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Anderson suggested that early experience with the new policy suggests that the 400-person limit is too constrictive.

"We were shutting down really quickly because we hit capacity so fast," Anderson said at the Feb. 11 meeting. "The repercussions are that there are more people driving up and down Page Mill Road and people making strange U-turns in inappropriate places on Page Mill Road."

He noted that the park was very quiet throughout the day, with no parking issues of any kind. The following day, when the limit was raised to 500, there was "no appreciable difference in experience," with parking available even in popular outdoor areas. The park, he noted, did not feel overcrowded that day — a sharp contrast to December, when the visitor limit was 750.

Since opening Foothills Park to the public on Dec. 17, Palo Alto has seen numerous problems at the preserve, including at Boronda Lake. Photo by Kate Bradshaw.

Greenfield said while it will take time to fully understand the impacts of visitor limits on the park's ecosystem, the 400-person limit appears to be "lower than we wanted it." He visited the park on Sunday and said it felt "pretty empty."

Commissioner Jeff LaMere, who serves on an ad hoc committee charged with refining Foothills Park policies, also urged his colleagues not to make the limits too restrictive.

"We want to keep in mind how to best serve the underserved communities, which is one of the reasons we pushed to open the park," LaMere said.

If the council approves the commission's recommendation, the new policies pertaining to annual passes and capacity limits could be adopted immediately through the passage of an emergency ordinance, which would require approval from six of seven members. The city can also concurrently move ahead with a regular ordinance that would take effect 31 days after the council approves it on a "second reading."

To date, the council has been largely in accord on adopting new measures on Foothills Park, with some notable exceptions. During a Jan. 19 discussion, council members Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka both pushed for lower visitor limits, while council member Alison Cormack argued against restricting access too much.

Vice Mayor Pat Burt initially proposed setting the cap at 500 visitors, but ultimately supported the lower limit championed by Kou and Tanaka. At the same time, he and the council majority rejected Tanaka's initial suggestion to set their entrance fee at $10.

"I don't think any of us yet know what is the right number of people who can be allowed at the park," Burt said. "I think we need to have a little bit more latitude there. … Are we going to restrict it so much that residents just won't be able to go there on the weekend?"

Cormack, who was the only council member to vote against the emergency measure to lower the visitor cap to 400 visitors, reiterated her opposition on Feb. 1, when she suggested that the council may have acted too fast in supporting an emergency ordinance that does not include annual passes or discounts for students and low-income residents. The council, she suggested, has created a situation that "harms Palo Alto residents who use Foothills Park often."

"Throwing out our favorite number for a capacity limit is a pretty careless way to make policy," Cormack said.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

New name, new rules: Foothills Park is in for more changes

City Council to consider creating an annual pass, refining visitor cap for popular nature preserve

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Feb 16, 2021, 5:07 pm

When Palo Alto leaders voted last November to allow the broader public to visit Foothills Park, they officially closed a large, decades-long debate but opened a slew of smaller ones.

Many of these will return to center stage on Monday night, when the City Council will debate and possibly adopt rule changes for accessing Foothills Park. It also will consider a menu of new recommendations from the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, including further refinements of the visitor cap to the park, creation of an annual pass for park entry and enactment of discount rates for low-income visitors and those with disabilities.

Also, to underscore its environmentally sensitive nature, the council is set to officially change the park's name to the Foothills Nature Preserve, a move that was unanimously endorsed in recent weeks by both the parks commission and the Palo Alto Historical Association.

The city's policies for managing the park have been in a state of flux since Dec. 17, when the new policy allowing nonresidents to enter the park took effect. The number of visitors instantly spiked, with about 33,637 people visiting the park between Dec. 17, 2020, and Jan. 2 — up from 5,687 visitors over the same period in the prior year, according to Daren Anderson, division manager at the Community Services Department.

Concurrently, the council has seen a spike of anecdotes about traffic jams, parking shortages and environmental damage, including a growing number of "social trails" — pathways made by visitors who veer off existing trails. Anderson said the problems are particularly noticeable at Vista Hill and Boronda Lake.

The council reacted to these trends on Feb. 1, when it adopted an emergency ordinance lowering the number of visitors who can be at the park at any one time from 750 to 400, while giving staff leeway to raise it to 500. Council members also voted to charge $6 for park entry, though the fee has yet to take effect.

Both changes were intended to be stop-gap measures that would only remain in place until the city gathers more data and hammers out long-term policies for managing the preserve. On Monday, the council will consider the city's next steps for adopting these policies.

The Parks and Recreation Commission, meanwhile, has offered its own ideas. On Feb. 11, the commission unanimously recommended raising the limit to 650 visitors at any one time, while allowing staff to adjust the limit to as low as 300 if needed. The commission also supported creating an annual pass, which would cost residents $50. Nonresidents would be required to pay $65. Seniors, veterans and individuals currently serving in the military would receive 25% discounts, while low-income visitors would get reductions between 25% and 50%.

The commission also voted 5-2 to recommend a 25% discount for individuals with disabilities. The two dissenting commissioners, Vice Chair Jeff Greenfield and Commissioner Amanda Brown, both supported allowing free entry for vehicles with disability license plates or placards.

In discussing the visitor limit, the commission considered the city's recent experience with the new 400-person cap. Anderson said that on Feb. 6, the first Saturday since the policy was adopted, the city had to bar entry into the park three times because the number of visitors reached the capacity limit. The following day, the city raised the limit to 500. Once again, it closed the park three times because of the capacity limit.

Anderson suggested that early experience with the new policy suggests that the 400-person limit is too constrictive.

"We were shutting down really quickly because we hit capacity so fast," Anderson said at the Feb. 11 meeting. "The repercussions are that there are more people driving up and down Page Mill Road and people making strange U-turns in inappropriate places on Page Mill Road."

He noted that the park was very quiet throughout the day, with no parking issues of any kind. The following day, when the limit was raised to 500, there was "no appreciable difference in experience," with parking available even in popular outdoor areas. The park, he noted, did not feel overcrowded that day — a sharp contrast to December, when the visitor limit was 750.

Greenfield said while it will take time to fully understand the impacts of visitor limits on the park's ecosystem, the 400-person limit appears to be "lower than we wanted it." He visited the park on Sunday and said it felt "pretty empty."

Commissioner Jeff LaMere, who serves on an ad hoc committee charged with refining Foothills Park policies, also urged his colleagues not to make the limits too restrictive.

"We want to keep in mind how to best serve the underserved communities, which is one of the reasons we pushed to open the park," LaMere said.

If the council approves the commission's recommendation, the new policies pertaining to annual passes and capacity limits could be adopted immediately through the passage of an emergency ordinance, which would require approval from six of seven members. The city can also concurrently move ahead with a regular ordinance that would take effect 31 days after the council approves it on a "second reading."

To date, the council has been largely in accord on adopting new measures on Foothills Park, with some notable exceptions. During a Jan. 19 discussion, council members Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka both pushed for lower visitor limits, while council member Alison Cormack argued against restricting access too much.

Vice Mayor Pat Burt initially proposed setting the cap at 500 visitors, but ultimately supported the lower limit championed by Kou and Tanaka. At the same time, he and the council majority rejected Tanaka's initial suggestion to set their entrance fee at $10.

"I don't think any of us yet know what is the right number of people who can be allowed at the park," Burt said. "I think we need to have a little bit more latitude there. … Are we going to restrict it so much that residents just won't be able to go there on the weekend?"

Cormack, who was the only council member to vote against the emergency measure to lower the visitor cap to 400 visitors, reiterated her opposition on Feb. 1, when she suggested that the council may have acted too fast in supporting an emergency ordinance that does not include annual passes or discounts for students and low-income residents. The council, she suggested, has created a situation that "harms Palo Alto residents who use Foothills Park often."

"Throwing out our favorite number for a capacity limit is a pretty careless way to make policy," Cormack said.

Comments

Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2021 at 5:29 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Feb 16, 2021 at 5:29 pm

I think the Council members should first be asked two questions, first how often did they visit the Park beforehand and secondly whether they have visited the Park on a busy weekend since it has been opened to all. I think it is wrong of people who do not visit the Park on a regular basis to understand exactly what the difference to a visit has been like for those people who have always been regular visitors.

Secondly, when discussing numbers, why are the numbers only for those who arrive by car being taken into account. Are bicycles, or pedestrians being counted? Palo Alto Hills residents are able to take a short walk from their homes, but Palo Alto residents have a much harder time getting there, along with residents from any other place.

Additionally, when discussing annual passes, are these per person, per household, per vehicle, or what? Does a household have to have a pass for each vehicle or each person, in case different members want to visit separately.

Lastly, no mention of a registration system. As someone who has set out on a weekend morning and arrived at the gate before 9.30 am and not been able to get in, it is very frustrating when on our downward journey (after hiking elsewhere) to find that the gate was open for those arriving at 11.30. Is it just going to be the luck of timing or can we do better at knowing whether or not we will be able to enter before leaving home?


felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2021 at 10:19 pm
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Feb 16, 2021 at 10:19 pm

Bystander - sounds like you will benefit a lot by attending the meeting where all your questions will be answered.

One I’ll take care of now - as was note at their last meeting, most all the council members had (and I assume continue) made repeated visits to Foothill on various days.


PaloAltoCitizen
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:39 am
PaloAltoCitizen, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:39 am

So the limit of visitors is determined by HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE TURNED AWAY AT THE ENTRANCE and how hard it is to find PARKING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We should be looking at how much damage is being done by the visitors. The limit should be set at a number where no damage is occurring.


Novelera
Registered user
Midtown
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:48 am
Novelera, Midtown
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:48 am

This whole thing is just sad. Over 33K visitors! Foothills Park was a treasure that is being irrevocably damaged. And...longtime residents like myself have had to watch it happen. No chance to vote on this big change. And, sadder still, this big change seems to be a by product of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. I am completely in favor of that movement, loved our downtown street mural. But suddenly a policy that was successful for many decades and was NOT racist, has cost us a beautiful sanctuary. People living in this town of any race could visit.


Duveneck
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:56 am
Duveneck, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:56 am

Please take note of the "preserve" status of Arastradero Open Space Preserve: one bathroom at the parking lot, NO camping, NO fire pits/BBQs, NO picnic tables, NO refuse cans. A few benches are located on some of the wider hiking trails. When we visit, we see NO garbage anywhere. NO noise, other than normal conversation. The trails are maintained and closed if necessary due to wet weather. Visitors seem to be very respectful of the environment. Bikers stay on the wide trails/roads and are, for the most part, very respectful of hikers. This is the profile that I would like to experience at Foothills Nature Preserve. Good name change.


Duveneck
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:58 am
Duveneck, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 10:58 am

addition to above comment: the smaller sizes of the 2 parking areas help limit the number of visitors.


Donya
Registered user
Barron Park
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:05 am
Donya, Barron Park
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:05 am

Please don't decide on the max number of visitors by measuring how frustrated the residents nearby are. Park a couple of police cars where the illegal u-turns are happening.

We used to go to Foothills Park often but not any more. There are way too many cars and people in there. We now hardly ever see wildlife. As we hike we hear loud talking behind and in front of us the whole time. We have seen people letting their kids climb over trees as if it is a city park. We see people having picnics in random grass areas.

Can the park put up a sign that says "Please keep your voice low"?


karlakk
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:12 am
karlakk, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:12 am

They need to make it reservation only. Its completely unfair to the wildlife to allow stampedes of humans to disregard their home.


Resident8
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:18 am
Resident8, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:18 am

The 650 visitors at one time is way too high. Wildlife sightings have disappeared for us since the increased entrance numbers and lots of damage being done. I think 400 at one time is about right.


Joel
Registered user
Barron Park
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:23 am
Joel, Barron Park
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:23 am

I would appreciate it if the Palo Alto Online would show us pictures of the "damages" that are occurring and of the park being "over-visited." So far every picture in the news have been of serene views of the park with just a few people in the pictures.


JHM
Registered user
another community
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:52 am
JHM, another community
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 11:52 am

And to think that all this could have been avoided, especially under the present circumstances if “Postering Palo Alto” had created it as a Nature Conservatory long, long ago.


Whatever
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:02 pm
Whatever, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:02 pm

The "Woke" action plan at work!


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:11 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:11 pm

I think the 650 person limit is too high. I only hike weekdays now, but I haven't seen the deer and turkeys that I used to see. I personally haven't seen Latinx or black visitors, but this might be different on the weekends (we avoid this due to crowds and park entrance problems). The Parks and Recreation meeting I listened to mentioned an annual pass good for 2 vehicles, if I remember correctly. You can express your ideas on Foothills Park at the next city council meeting on February 22. Here is the agenda and contact info if you can't attend. You can usually speak between 2-3 minutes. I hope that the park will be protected for the animals and plants. By keeping the visitor limits smaller, it will also be a more enjoyable experience in this gem of a park.

Web Link

Web Link


W. Johansen
Registered user
Community Center
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:13 pm
W. Johansen, Community Center
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:13 pm

The Doris Cordell Nature Preserve would also have been an appropriate name as the Palo Alto Baylands is named after a former white elementary school teacher that few Palo Altans are barely aware of or even familiar with, someone named Lucy Evans from the 1950s.


cmarg
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:30 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:30 pm

I hope a lot of home owners show up for the meeting on Monday.
I do want to share that I fear that if people continue to point to racism being involved in Foothills Preserve, they are really causing people to actually be racist. What I mean, if the cause for things that have nothing to do with racism are all of a sudden called racist (and the NAACP is pulled in), then you are hurting those who are different races. It hurts them to use racism because you prey on people not wanting to be considered racist. Please use racism only when it is in fact a racist act. Be an up-stander when someone does something racist. Address racism when it is in fact racist. Thanks.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:46 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 12:46 pm

The big electric traffic sign at Arastradero warns motorists heading up Page Mill if the park is full. My understanding is that it's real time, so as soon as capacity is reached, the sign down below says "closed." So, the argument that people drive up, only to be turned away is pretty bogus.

As for park "improvements," all the yellow tape preventing people from illegally parking is a real eyesore, and needs to be changed to something less "ghetto." On the other hand, the one-way trail markers are now semi-permanent posts, and look very nice. Plus, people won't be able to just throw them into the bushes as a form of protest like they were doing with the laminated paper signs.

As for trash, I've seen a distinct lack of it on my last few visits. And I say, let's try and keep it that way. When I can, I bring a ziplock baggie and clothespin, and pick of trash that I see along the way (got the idea watching the DTST one day). And I encourage others to do the same, if they're up for it. I realize not everyone can deal with picking up discarded masks and tissues (it does require some mental fortitude), but others can, and the trails are SO nice when free of the masks and tissues.


PaloAltoCitizen
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:44 pm
PaloAltoCitizen, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:44 pm

The City of Palo Alto desperately needs to engage (hire) an expert in sustainable use of NATURE PRESERVES. The current staff are well trained in managing "parks" for the use of HUMANS. They are not experts in nature preserves. The advice that staff is currently giving is focused on parking, human crowding, human access ("turning away"), traffic, etc. I hear nothing from them about the smashed tarantulas (probably by bicycles), the beheaded garter snake, the now-absent owls, the plummet in sightings of deer, bobcats, turkeys, etc.. Foothills is on its way to becoming another Arastradero. I remember Arastradero when it truly was a nature preserve. Now it is a recreational open space for bicycling, jogging, walking dogs, etc. with WIDE manicured (graveled) pathways and NO WILDLIFE.


J. Cooper
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2021 at 2:43 pm
J. Cooper, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 2:43 pm

If Palo Alto wasn't somewhat racist or elitist, wouldn't it have opened the park to outsiders decades ago?

Unsubstantiated denial when confronted is oftentimes no different than a blatant practice of racism. At least with blatant racism (i.e the Deep South and Boston) everyone knows where everybody stands.


jguislin
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Feb 17, 2021 at 3:33 pm
jguislin, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Rarely cited or missing is what I hope will become the top priority for Foothills Preserve: maintaining a healthy ecosystem that supports the natural environment and wildlife. We need a set of metrics that we can monitor to understand the impact of the various models for human access. Promoting limits of 400 or 650 or any number of visitors are just wild guesses unless we have system to measure the impact of visitors. We will look worse than foolish in the long term if we allow this beautiful space to deteriorate.


tmp
Registered user
Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2021 at 6:35 pm
tmp, Downtown North
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 6:35 pm

One more in favor of really making it a "Nature Preserve". Time to lose the BBQ pits, bathrooms, boats on the lake and other "human" amenities. It should be for the wildlife.

Then Palo Alto City Council needs to look at ways to add more urban park space for its citizens. Council is drastically behind on acreage promised under the comprehensive plan for the city. Plus this pandemic has shown that we need more open space and space to spread out and breath and exercise. Time for a dedicated revenue stream for acquisition of park space in town.


Field and Stream
Registered user
another community
on Feb 18, 2021 at 7:58 am
Field and Stream , another community
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 7:58 am

Is there a boat docking ramp at Foothills Park?

I've read that there is recreational fishing on the lake with no license required. I have a flat aluminum fishing boat with a small outboard motor. It is too cumbersome to carry and must be unloaded via boat trailer.

Some neighbors from the Central Valley mentioned the park is a nice getaway that also accommodates camping and offers restricted fire pits for grilling meats.

I am assuming the park does not allow trailers or small all-terrain recreational vehicles for exploring the area.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 18, 2021 at 8:58 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 8:58 am

WOW - FHP is now the poster child for every issue in the realm of controversy. As a legal case issue what we now have is a density issue, parking issue, financial issue, personnel issue, still a city responsibility issue. And now a publicity issue for the dedicated fisherman expecting a trout lake. No - that is San Pablo Reservoir that is in the SFC news today - that is your top fishing location.

So next time we encounter a legal issue the "Offense' will be required to address all of the issues that have transpired and are now documented as to cause and effect. We now have the current required legal case which demonstrates the impact of any one legal issue. Thank you ACLU - next time around you need to cover all of the bases before you initiate any actions.


Serg
Registered user
Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2021 at 9:08 am
Serg, Downtown North
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 9:08 am

I heard all you folks talking about opening it, keep close it, now charging entrance or not, how much etc. Have any of you stopped by and talking with those who really knows about the park? I am not talking about city manager, or city mayor, city council members. I am talking about those park employees. I have spoke with couple of them at the gate and they told many times sometime are only two employees working for the day in a busy weekend. And they told me they are not even full time employee just part time. They mentioned it is tough to be just a part time employees and doing 90% of the job. I watched those guys working in a busy weekend at the gate. So, stop by someday and asking them if they have enough staff, or not. Or if they are getting pay enough to do the job.


Serg
Registered user
Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2021 at 9:52 am
Serg, Downtown North
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

PaloAltoCitizen, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
19 hours ago
The City of Palo Alto desperately needs to engage (hire) an expert in sustainable use of NATURE PRESERVES. Come on Palo Alto Citizen. like I mentioned above most of the employees are part timers. How the city gonna hire an expert in sustainable use of nature? The city should look hire more employees period. I was there last Sat and there was too many cars, people going back and forth. And only one employee running around checking the trashes. The city manager, city council got to pumped up to open it but they didn't realize or in another words didn't or don't care that they don't have enough staff to maintain the park clean and nice.


Oh well.....
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 18, 2021 at 10:42 am
Oh well....., Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 10:42 am

City Council tried to fix something that wasn't broke in the first place. Now they're spending our tax money on a problem they created.


Heinrich Gerhardt
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 18, 2021 at 11:08 am
Heinrich Gerhardt, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 11:08 am

"And now a publicity issue for the dedicated fisherman expecting a trout lake."

Planting trout in the lake would provide an enjoyable outlet for those who were previously shunned by the alleged racist Palo Alto municipal policy depriving non-resident s from entering Foothills Park.

Besides, what harm would the planting trout do?

Just place a limit on size an the number of fish caught.




Butch Fairbanks
Registered user
another community
on Feb 18, 2021 at 11:23 am
Butch Fairbanks, another community
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 11:23 am

Maybe the City of Palo Alto could consider building small guest cottages along the lake.

This would generate added city revenue and provide jobs in addition to accomodating park visitors from out of the area.

For the longest time, we were never allowed to enter the park while visiting friends in Sunnyvale because we reside in Butte County/Chico.

Now that the park is open to everyone, it needs to add some further amenities perhaps concessions or a small restaurant.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 18, 2021 at 11:28 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 11:28 am

The cost of this nonsense should be deducted from the hefty compensation packages of the City Attorney and City Manager for not doing their homework before immediately caving to the lawsuit.

One of our council members suggested selling naming rights/ads on our public toilets, well, here's another change.


Hinrich
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 18, 2021 at 12:19 pm
Hinrich, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 12:19 pm

It's good that the preserve is now officially recognized in it's name. The city now has to follow through with rules that ensure it remains as it is for decades to come. If 400 is the proposed limit that could be 400 cars - that's way too many for the staff, for the road leading up to the park, for the parking lots, and for the preserve. The city has indeed created many problems by ignoring the impacts. At a minimum, fees should cover the cost of adding staff and additional maintenance and the numbers allowed in at any one time should not drive the costs to PA taxpayers higher and higher. Taxpayers voted against opening the park so there is no mandate to expand it's functions. Admission policies should not be weighted to serve the underserved or any other activist agenda. It's a Preserve, the rules should serve that purpose and not try to mix hot dogs, frisbees, and the beautiful place where the deer graze.


Javier
Registered user
another community
on Feb 18, 2021 at 2:07 pm
Javier , another community
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 2:07 pm

Opening Foothills Park to everyone was a good idea. This is what America is all about and many of those who opposed the opening may not be racist but they are very unpatriotic towards extending and practicing the ideals this country.

I am currently a college student from a small farm community in the Central Valley and I have personally invited many of my family members and friends to come visit this particular park as a past symbol of municipal bigotry.

We will barbeque, play music and keep our many dogs on leash in observance of the park rules. It will be a festive occasion and unlike most WHITE people, we will freely offer our food and refreshments to all. Hopefully we can concoct a spit with rotesserie to turn a roast pig as I assume it is against park rules to arrive pre-dawn and prepare a pit.

Maybe someday Palo Altans will learn that we all live in and share the same world. And just because our skin is darker is no reason for further discrimination.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Feb 18, 2021 at 2:38 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 2:38 pm

Foothills Nature Preserve is a nature preserve, not a large park meant to provide amenities like cottages on the lake, restaurants, or concession stands. Those of us who have lived in Palo Alto welcome others now, but we have always treasured this gem as a preserve for the animals and plants that live there. It is not a place for loud music or large barbecue pits. It has always been a unique place since it's a very nice place to hike, see and hear various animals, and enjoy peace and serenity away from the busy city life. If you want to have loud parties, please find some city park that can better accommodate you. Thank you.

From what I have heard in city council and parks and recreation commission meetings, the visitor limit is 400 people at a time, not 400 cars. Having a 400 car limit would make the preserve too busy.

Field and Stream and Heinrich Gerhardt, Boronda Lake is a very tiny lake and quite shallow. There are canoes for rent.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 18, 2021 at 3:56 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 3:56 pm

To all posters who have ideas for the park...I hope some were given with tongues in cheeks...others, maybe innocently, thinking Boranda Lake could support a trout population. In any event, I have enjoyed the park in the past and ever since the day it opened, and in fact my wife and I attended the grand opening (ribbon cutting ceremony) up on Vista Hill (Point). Sadly, I might never go there again. Our family had so many fun times there and we often had friends, neighbors, and visiting relatives join us for a picnic, a hike, and a tour thru the Visitors' Center. I helped chaperone an overnight camping trip with our church's youth group there. I flew kites with our local YMCA sponsored Y Indian Guides (father and son group). I accept the fact that it's now open to the public, not just PA residents, but it was opened, and forced upon us for the wrong reason. Was the lawsuit brought for the recrimination of our fathers' sins...housing discrimination from the 40's-50's? C'mon ACLU, NAACP, and our own CC...get your heads on straight. That is a sordid history but it's gone and has been gone for a long time. The park has always been open to PA residents without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, religious beliefs and any restrictions other than to be able to afford to live here.

Now we are starting to see the impact of opening up the park and there are many unanswered questions and there will be much time and money spent on analyzing the data to answer them: number of people, cars, where the visitors live, their financial situation, race, gender, religion, national origin, etc. We caved. We shouldn't have.

And now CC is struggling with the issue and trying to figure out ways to deal with it, including how to make it a cost neutral proposition. I have my doubts on that happening. I think the bulk of the cost will fall on the shoulders of own wonderful PA taxpayers who were so kind to open up our park to everybody.


Bobby Munoz
Registered user
another community
on Feb 18, 2021 at 4:30 pm
Bobby Munoz, another community
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 4:30 pm

While stocking the small lake with trout and building cottages surrounding the lake may be a bit extreme, I like the idea of having food concessions at Foothills Park.

There is plenty of space and even room for food trucks offering a variety of international cuisines like East Indian, Chinese, Mexican and American.

At least offer hot dogs and a coke like they do at Costco.

And to assist in financing the added park expenditures, merchandisers could sell t-shirts and ballcaps with the Foothills Park name on them along with those helium-filled mylar balloons that people could either take home or release in the air as the wind would eventually carry them away negating any litter issues.

In East San Jose, neighbors know how to gather outdoors and enjoy the festivities of being together. And once the Covid-19 is irradicated, more people could be allowed in the park as it comprises well over 1,600 acres much of which is land.

Palo Alto residents should consider teaming-up with other civic-minded non-residents in a concerted effort towards making the park a fun.place to gather and socialize.

This is the primary logic behind expanding the admission of any park or preserve.

My parent's once told me that back in the 1950s Yosemite was kind of a dull place until more visitors gradually arrived to partake in its sights.

The same could be envisioned of Foothills Park though it is no Yosemite by any means of the word. It is just a bunch of weed-infested rolling hills, a dark forest with trails, and a small shallow lake that only contains a few catfish and some bluegills. No different than some parts of Saratoga, Cupertino or even Los Altos Hills.

If planned-out properly, Foothills Park could be patterned after Shoreline Park in MV where everyone is welcome to enjoy the premises at will with certain constraints.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 18, 2021 at 5:11 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 5:11 pm

I am always amazed when people bring up National Parks - Yosemite, State Parks - Golden Gate in SF. These are parks that are subsidized by a large tax base - the state and federal governments. Also donations from taxpayers in membership in these parks. There is no comparison to a small area in the hills that is subsidized by a city - and not a major city. The road that goes up to the park is limited in capacity and has steep drop-offs. The whole point is that it is a Preserve - not Disneyland.
There area a huge number of parks in this general location - hope that every one makes a trip to each cities parks that are listed on their city websites.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2021 at 5:50 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 5:50 pm

Some of the comments here are getting ridiculous. How people from the Central Valley or elsewhere are finding this article, I don't know. How these people are registering with PA Online to comment is another question.

What Foothills Preserve has always been will continue, I'm sure. It is a place for taking a leisurely hike either in the trails in the hills, or the flatter areas around the lake. It is a vista hill to look at Silicon Valley and the SF Bay. It is a place for families to have an overnight camping experience, or perhaps a small scout or church group to learn or teach how to camp. It is a place for a small family barbecue or a place to celebrate a larger event at the group site. It is a place to learn to fish, or to learn to kayak safely. It is a place for local groups to look at the stars. It is for learning about nature and for enjoying the simple things in life.

What it is not, is a commercial enterprise. It is not for large groups gathering with loud music and organized sports. It is not for food trucks or anything with generators. It is not for any type of snack bar or coffee shop. It is not now open for improvements or upgrading facilities.

It is open for all, but it is open for the same uses it has always provided. Anyone suggesting anything other than keeping it in its present state is not welcome there.


Ping Li
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Feb 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm
Ping Li, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm

I think times have changed. Many of the newer visitors to Foothills Park would probably like to see some additional amenities provided for park guests including places to buy water or trail mix.

The Palo Alto Rec Department should seize upon the opportunity before others are selling these items from the parking lot.

There are many new visitors to Foothills Park now that it is open to the public and
older traditional Palo Alto recreational customs and mindsets are now past.

Let's embrace and accommodate 21st century societal changes by adapting to and meeting the needs and preferences of our newer park guests!


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Feb 18, 2021 at 8:07 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 8:07 pm

Bobby Munoz, you obviously don't appreciate the quiet beauty of Foothills Nature Preserve if you describe it as weed-infested rolling hills with dark trails in the forest. This is not a large city park that wants large and loud parties. This is a nature preserve that has been cared for by Palo Alto residents for decades with their own taxes, people who value the peaceful serenity and care very, very much about the well-being of the animals and plants that call this small preserve their home. By the way, mylar balloons can cause power outages when trapped on power lines. If they land in the nearby bay, they can cause the death of animals who ingest them. I would have loved to see Yosemite back in the "dull days" before huge crowds filled the parking lots and trails. It must have been wonderful then. It's obvious that Foothills Park is not a good choice for you.


Lacy Delgado
Registered user
another community
on Feb 19, 2021 at 6:33 am
Lacy Delgado, another community
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 6:33 am

With the increase in park visitors, traffic, and parking availabilities, it will be difficult and somewhat unrealistic to expect to maintain a zen-like outdoor experience at Foothills Park.

Like Yosemite (which is certainly not zen-like), Foothills Park will eventually become just like any other outdoor recreation area with its share of growing problems and environmental impact concerns.

This issue was never fully addressed by the city council prior to opening the park to everyone and so the eventual deteriorization of Foothills Park rests squarely upon their shoulders, not on the newcomers who come to the park for an outdoor recreational and social experience.

I agree that more accomodations and services need to be implemented including concessions, a first aid station, 24/7 park ranger security patrols, and additional maintance crews to pick-up after park guests depart the area.

This is no different than going to a concert venue except that it is in nature-land where the birds (or the picnic area stereo systems) do the singing.

For the preservationists bemoaning the way things used to be, those days are long gone when the park was private and accessible only to city residents.

And the private resident-only access was merely reflective of a closed-door policy ostensibly racist rather than one of environmental concerns.




Amrit Mehta
Registered user
Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2021 at 7:14 am
Amrit Mehta, Mountain View
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 7:14 am

I do not mind the small crowds at Foothills Park as everyone is friendly and enjoying the outdoors.

In India, the current headcount at Foothills Park on a busy day would be considered desolate.




Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 19, 2021 at 9:25 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 9:25 am

People are confusing FHP with Mitchell Park. People saying that PA is racist have not been to Mitchell Park which has concerts, food events, a fire station, and is centrally located with good parking. Also a large community center which can be rented for personal and civic events and a great library. The city has over 30 parks all over the city for people to enjoy. Rinconada Park has tennis courts, a pool, a barbecue area. The city of PA has offerings all over the city appropriate to the location of the park. Suggest that you all visit all of our parks and note that each has an individual personality.
People from other communities have not made an effort to visit all of the parks in this region overall. FH Parks is a nature preserve and is not going to be turned into an event center for out-of-towners looking for a Golden Gate Park on the peninsula. We already have many of those.


Perry Lindstrom
Registered user
Los Altos
on Feb 19, 2021 at 9:40 am
Perry Lindstrom, Los Altos
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 9:40 am

So all things considered, who is to blame for this current Foothills Park debacle?

(a) The Palo Alto City Council

(b) The NAACP/ACLU

(c) The newly invited guests

(d) All of the above

(e) None of the above

Inquiring minds from other cities and towns are curious or is this one of those 'only happens in Palo Alto' types of issues?


Duveneck neighbor
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:01 am
Duveneck neighbor, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:01 am

Aside to the Editor: the changes implemented in the Comments section have improved the quality of discourse, IMO. Continue to monitor, but in the meantime thank you.

As for this issue:

I have written before to CC with my experience-based yet still only anecdotal opinion, and posted in PAOnline.

My wife and I have visited Foothills on average 2X per month for the last 24 years. Over the past year, the frequency is more like 3X per month.

Last Friday, February 12, is a prime example of our experience since the Park/Preserve has been opened to all. We arrived at about 12:30pm. Parking was limited, but we found an open space in the paved lot behind the Interpretive Center. We did the entire Los Trancos Trail, substituting the Trapper John and Madrone Fire Roads for the trail the descent. We encountered few people, perhaps two dozen in total. Open meadows at the top found one couple having a quiet picnic alone in the grass. We had our own snack at the unoccupied bench at the top, enjoying the fabulous air clarity, clouds, wildflowers and emerging, vivid Spring colors. The Los Trancos Trail is now well-marked in terms of which sections are One-Way, and which are Two-Way: THANK YOU to staff for this excellent work, which almost all hikers followed.

Our experience parallels other visits since December. By far the majority of the much-larger-than-before visitors are concentrated around Boronda Lake; we mused there are few lakes to visit nearby, thus the high interest. Density of hikers on trails, however, does not seem changed. Visitation at Vista Hill is substantially higher than in years past: on a weekday last year, I could ride my bike to Vista Hill, and be guaranteed to see no one.

My opinion remains: Staff must determine how many visitors, and where, the Park/Preserve can hold, to *sustain the resource*, which must be the overarching goal. Numbers like 650 are arbitrary; we need data, not guesses. How to implement restrictions is not rocket science.


M. Devereaux
Registered user
another community
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:03 am
M. Devereaux, another community
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:03 am

I suspect it comes with being a liberal-minded, predominantly blue community so 'all of the above' applies...minus (c) as the new park visitors cannot be held accountable for any earlier oversights.

The funny thing is that the blues are turning red when it comes to sharing this open space preserve with others. Ironic to a certain extent and perhaps reflective of the real Palo Alto.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:50 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:50 am

The surrounding cities have parks with the same topography and features - Redwood Grove Nature Preserve and Shoup Park in Los Altos; Purissma Park and Edith Park in Los Altos Hills. Check these parks out on the city references and google maps. Take time to explore all of the parks in the general area as they are all part of the same mountain range. Some are located on the Adobe Creek so there is a water feature that actually is able to host fish coming upstream to spawn. Look at the rules that other cities are using for these parks. What ever is decided will be consistent with the other preserve parks in the region. Note that the "Preserve" parks are noted with more restrictive rules.


Elgin Taylor
Registered user
Stanford
on Feb 19, 2021 at 12:35 pm
Elgin Taylor, Stanford
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 12:35 pm

>>...this one of those 'only happens in Palo Alto' types of issues?"

∆ Apparently so. Other cities do not restrict entrance to their municipal parks so they do not have to deal with the backlash.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Feb 19, 2021 at 12:52 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 12:52 pm

My husband's hiking situation is similar to Duveneck Neighbor since he is strong enough to hike the Los Trancos trail, and this trail is mostly one-way. However, more than half of the time he meets people going the wrong way on this trail. He used to be more tolerant, but he now tells them to go back and accompanies them to a junction and tells them how to hike from there. Of course, if a hiker is in trouble, he will let them pass. He shouldn't have to do this so often. I'll bet most of these hikers know how to read the one-way signs. He says some people thank him for the information and help, while others look grumpy because they have been caught hiking the wrong way. Due to chronic back pain, I can no longer hike steep trails like the Los Trancos Trail. I need to carefully plan a weekday hike during off hours to hike on the Toyon/Woodrat trails or the Fern Loop trail. This means that I usually only get to enjoy the serenity of the park once or twice a week and have not been able to combine the Fern Loop with one of my favorite trails (the Coastanoan loop) more than one time since I usually run out of time before I can do this longer hike. I have run into people hiking the wrong way on the Toyon Trail a few times, but it has gotten better lately. You really have to plan carefully if you want to enjoy a quiet, peaceful walk where you're not hurried by people behind you so that you can stop to look at the flowers or see the birds.


Lindsay A.
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2021 at 1:46 pm
Lindsay A., Crescent Park
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 1:46 pm

We haven't been to Foothills Park in decades but it is is nice to know that others can now enjoy it's offerings.

Times change and the SF Bay Area has increased in population so it is no surprise that more people are visiting the park now that it is open to all.


Serg
Registered user
Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2021 at 7:52 pm
Serg, Downtown North
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 7:52 pm

felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Feb 16, 2021 at 10:19 pm
Bystander - sounds like you will benefit a lot by attending the meeting where all your questions will be answered.

One I’ll take care of now - as was note at their last meeting, most all the council members had (and I assume continue) made repeated visits to Foothill. No FELIX, they don't. I spoke with an employee at the gate couple months back. HE said "NO no city council ever come by". Only city manager rides his bike and stops at the gate and ask how busy the park is. And how many employees are working. Employee said that he and his co-worker told the city manager that most of the time is busy on sat and sun. And most of the time there is ONE or IF they are lucky TWO employees to clean trash, count cars, people, answer anything that city fire dispatch needs. They told city manager that is very hard to do with TWO employees. City manager acknowledge it. However, said well I am sorry. Lets make sure in the next meeting regarding foothills park we bring that to the city council members. To keep it the park nice and clean they need hire more staff and make those part time employees full time.


anonymous123
Registered user
Charleston Gardens
on Feb 22, 2021 at 3:25 pm
anonymous123, Charleston Gardens
Registered user
on Feb 22, 2021 at 3:25 pm

It's a very sad situation that you've opened the park. Have you no care at all for the wildlife at park? There will be trash everywhere now just like at Rinconada Park. This was a huge huge mistake to open the park. Now im worried some nimwit will cause a wildfire. Stupid move city council. Use your heads.


Peter Colton
Registered user
Los Altos
on Feb 23, 2021 at 7:26 am
Peter Colton, Los Altos
Registered user
on Feb 23, 2021 at 7:26 am

Perhaps Palo Alto residents could create a volunteer task force to pick-up the excess garbage left at Foothills Park...a community service project of sorts involving various church groups, local Boy Scout troops, high school students etc.

Then the park can remain pristine for outside visitors.


Please Don't
Registered user
College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2021 at 3:19 pm
Please Don't, College Terrace
Registered user
on Feb 24, 2021 at 3:19 pm

"Opening Foothills Park to everyone was a good idea. This is what America is all about and many of those who opposed the opening may not be racist but they are very unpatriotic towards extending and practicing the ideals this country."

This is the Bay Area. It's elbows up and box out around here fella.


anonymous123
Registered user
Charleston Gardens
on Feb 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm
anonymous123, Charleston Gardens
Registered user
on Feb 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 25, 2021 at 10:10 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 25, 2021 at 10:10 pm

I am now visiting other city parks. Los Altos Shoup park is nice. very limited parking, lot of little people play area. Check it out. Good for small children. Path to the Redwood forest.

The big news in the papers is now the state parks are opening so call up your favorite park for camping or a reservation for a visit. I think Muir Woods requires a reservation. So now lot of opportunities to visit and stay at parks - reservations required. Join the California State Park System to get news on what is going on.
The Presidio is a good place to visit as the bridge to the marina is open. Love the Presidio.


Anastacio Martinez
Registered user
another community
on Feb 28, 2021 at 7:32 am
Anastacio Martinez, another community
Registered user
on Feb 28, 2021 at 7:32 am

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows

why you telling everyone to go elsewhere instead of foothills park?

your advice says more about not wanting outside visitors even though park is now open to everyone.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 28, 2021 at 10:11 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Feb 28, 2021 at 10:11 am

Nice to get people aware of their other options. FHP will be closing the door when it reaches a certain number so know where else to go.


Quintilla Bass
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2021 at 10:19 am
Quintilla Bass, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 28, 2021 at 10:19 am

Anastacio...

People who wish to keep others off their private 'domain' simply advise them to go elsewhere.

This has been going on for centuries and some Palo Alto residents are no different.

Which is why the Honorable LaDoris Cordell, the NAACP, and the ACLU had to intervene on this park issue.

You are now free to enter the park but not 'welcomed' to do so by certain parties who deep down inside, beg to differ on the issue.

The denial of ostensible racism has become a Palo Alto trademark.



Edgar Villarone
Registered user
another community
on Feb 28, 2021 at 3:05 pm
Edgar Villarone, another community
Registered user
on Feb 28, 2021 at 3:05 pm

So we are supposed to go elsewhere?

Though the park entrance rules have changed, race-phobic Palo Alto attitudes towards people of color apparently hasn't.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2021 at 5:10 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Feb 28, 2021 at 5:10 pm

"Posted by Peter Colton
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 23, 2021 at 7:26 am
Peter Colton is a registered user.

Perhaps Palo Alto residents could create a volunteer task force to pick-up the excess garbage left at Foothills Park...a community service project of sorts involving various church groups, local Boy Scout troops, high school students etc.

Then the park can remain pristine for outside visitors."

Perhaps residents from Los Altos and the other nearby communities that refused to share the costs of maintaining Foothills could create auxiliary volunteer forces, too

Remember Foothills would never have been limited to Palo Alto residents if their taxpayers had been willing to pay their fair share for parks maintenance. Perhaps they'd also like to share the "racism" accusations since most people making those accusations have forgotten the history and/or prefer to ignore it.


Lew Milsap
Registered user
another community
on Feb 28, 2021 at 8:25 pm
Lew Milsap, another community
Registered user
on Feb 28, 2021 at 8:25 pm

Just my 2¢ but Mr. Colton has a point.

Since Palo Alto is hosting Foothills Park to guest visitors, it is the responsibility of its citizen community to keep the place presentable.

Take pride and have pride.


Bobby Munoz
Registered user
another community
on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:04 am
Bobby Munoz, another community
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:04 am

Park guests should pick up after themselves and their pets but this is not often the case.

And yes, the residents of Palo Alto (in a volunteer effort) or salaried city maintanence crews have a responsibility to keep the place presentable for all park guests.

It comes with the territory.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:11 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:11 am

It is very interesting to hear all these people from outside areas telling us how to run our Preserve. Perhaps they should start looking at their own facilities and make sure that they are all pristine before commenting on what we should do with Foothills.

Page Mill Road is going to be a big problem due to the added time it takes to enter as a result of payment and showing passes. Then again, in an emergency in either the Preserve or local residences, the emergency vehicles will have problems as well as evacuation of the Preserve due to any type of emergency. There is no disaster protocol for all these added vehicles.


Bobby Munoz
Registered user
another community
on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:27 am
Bobby Munoz, another community
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:27 am

We are relocating to Palo Alto from San Jose and as a new resident I would be most willing to contribute a Saturday of volunteer work to keep the park clean.

I am a laborer on a landscape maintance crew and am used to this kind of work.

Many Palo Alto residents are too proud to get their hands dirty or do actual physical labor.

They just complain about leaf blowers and go to the gym as a substitute for doing any real work.

It is a civic duty to volunteer and I imagine that the majority of wealthier Palo Alto residents think they are too good to pick up trash or keep up their own park.

I was not brought up that way.


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 1, 2021 at 9:20 am
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 9:20 am

Good luck with the volunteer concept.

Current Covid-19 concerns would probably be the #1 reason/alibi for non-participation in this proposed volunteer community service project...although if residents were given a rake + a large plastic bag while at the same time, practicing safe distancing protocols it could work.

Still highly unlikely there would be any volunteers.


Dorothy Peterson
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 1, 2021 at 2:40 pm
Dorothy Peterson, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 2:40 pm

This Foothills Park thing is getting old.

Most Palo Altans are not racists and the allegations of such mentalities and actual practice is on shaky ground.

Perhaps as others have recommended, just return the land back to the Native Americans whose ancestors once lived there.

Chances are the Ohlones will not be bickering with the NAACP/ACLU or quibbling over parking lot spaces.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Mar 1, 2021 at 6:19 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 6:19 pm

Bobby Munoz, I am very offended by your remarks. Before you move to Palo Alto, please take the time to get to know those of us who live here. Many people "get their hands dirty" by gardening. Do you have to do manual labor to have a "real" job. Is a desk job not "real" work? We complain about gas leaf blowers because they are bad for our health. We don't want our children or families to be exposed to toxic fumes when gardeners can use electric blowers instead. The very nice guy, Tony, who has taken care of our apartment building for years does a really nice job with shears, a rake, and a broom. Who said that people from Palo Alto don't volunteer or care for parks? For decades, the people of Palo Alto have used their property taxes to keep Foothills Park clean and a peaceful home for its animals and plants. Only since the park was forced to be open to the public has it experienced trash problems or people trampling trails. We had already decided to open the park to non-residents before the lawsuit. Palo Alto residents don't even bother going to Foothills on weekends now due to the big crowds. Do you know that 45% of Palo Altans like me live in rental units and are considered vulnerable by HUD standards? We live in fear of rental increases. Many homes in Palo Alto were bought decades ago when housing prices were reasonable. The owners are old now,can't afford to move anywhere else in the Bay Area, and can't do much manual labor. I know several of these people. They shop at Costco. They are home rich but cash poor. They are not racist. They live in Eichler homes, which were developed as a community open to people of all races and colors. So many people like to hate people who live in Palo Alto just because housing prices are so high. When we moved here in 1980, the housing prices were already too high for us. The booming tech industry has only made things worse. Please don't judge us until you know us. Many support Black Lives Matter.We are not lazy racists. Thank you.


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 1, 2021 at 7:09 pm
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 1, 2021 at 7:09 pm

@ Bobby Munoz & JB...

There are two sides of the coin to this debate over manual labor...

First of all, growing some carrots or tending to a backyard herb garden is a pastime and though one will get their hands 'dirty' in the process, it's not quite the same and picking up debris/trash and stuffing it into a garbage bag for proper disposal.

On the other hand, expecting bourgeois Palo Altans to embrace manual labor may also be asking too much because many of them view themselves as upscale 'professionals' contributing to the economy and society in their own manner.

Yes...leaf-blowers are horrid devices but being able to shop at Costco is not exactly a sign of poverty either.

And working behind a desk is just as important to the functioning of society as pushing a broom. Both are needed.

The key is not to be a SNOB and to find some sort of middle ground founded on mutual respect regardless of one's occupation.

There is a lot of local resentment over this Foothills Park issue and whether it ever gets resolved will be up to PACC leadership and folks working together towards keeping it an enjoyable place to visit.

If this cannot be accomplished, then the earlier suggestions of returning the land to Ohlone descendents may prove to be the best alternative.


Carmen Marquez
Registered user
another community
on Mar 2, 2021 at 6:16 am
Carmen Marquez, another community
Registered user
on Mar 2, 2021 at 6:16 am

"The 'Ohlone Village and Casino' situated in the beautiful Palo Alto foothills just of of 280"... has a nice ring to it and chances are the Native American proprietors will not discriminate against others like the current white residents of Palo Alto.


Jamie Long
Registered user
Stanford
on Mar 2, 2021 at 8:35 am
Jamie Long, Stanford
Registered user
on Mar 2, 2021 at 8:35 am

The key is not to be a SNOB and to find some sort of middle ground founded on mutual respect regardless of one's occupation.

THAT'S THE PRIMARY PROBLEM. MOST PEOPLE WANT TO THINK (OR BELIEVE) THAT THEY ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS.


Arabella M.
Registered user
another community
on Mar 3, 2021 at 5:59 am
Arabella M., another community
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2021 at 5:59 am

"MOST PEOPLE WANT TO THINK (OR BELIEVE) THAT THEY ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS."

That is why racism still exists today and it is perpetuated primarily by white people, not people of color or minorities.


Jim Nettles
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2021 at 6:56 am
Jim Nettles, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2021 at 6:56 am

Racism and genocide is generally perpetuated by the majority ethnicity (or a majority religious group) in an ongoing effort to subjugate or eliminate certain minorities.

America is no different than in other parts of the world.


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 3, 2021 at 11:42 am
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2021 at 11:42 am

"America is no different than in other parts of the world."

Given the January 6th riots in DC, certainly no different than a typical banana republic (as noted by former POTUS George W. Bush).


Ashley
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 3, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Ashley, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2021 at 12:15 pm

That is because the GOP supports the QAnon people as part of their voting base.

Progressive Democrats do not dress up in buffalo horns and racoons tails with painted faces.

Only QAnoners.


Ashley
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 3, 2021 at 12:18 pm
Ashley, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Mar 3, 2021 at 12:18 pm

That is because the GOP supports the QAnon people as part of their voting base.

Progressive Democrats do not dress up in buffalo horns and racoons tails with painted faces.

Only disgruntled QAnoners.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:28 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:28 am

WE have spent more than 4 years with the Antifa people storming around Portland and raiding the local legislative buildings. And Seattle - they have put that city out of business running around in their Antifa regalia. UC Berkley campus - face painted breaking windows and starting fires. How about Chicago. [Portion removed.] It has been in everyone's face for how long now? And no one did anything about it. Berkley police let them march on the campus and people got hurt. A whole period in which civil war was ongoing and your current VP said it would continue.

While we are at it the current event is being diagnosed in the papers every day and what we can see is a lot of people foretold this and the DC people did not do anything to stop it until it was too late. Total incompetence. Purposeful incompetence.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:52 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:52 am

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows Well said. I'm glad someone is talking sense around here.


Shaquon Davis
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:06 am
Shaquon Davis, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:06 am
Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:13 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:13 am

@Resident, I suspect you're old enough to know that at least some of those depicted as AntiFa may not really be AntiFa having lived through the infiltration of many demonstrations in decades past by what are now called "false flags".

Read up on the January 6 insurrection where for 199 minutes -- 3.3 HOURS -- police / national guard responses were delayed, allowing the rampage to continue.


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:28 am
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:28 am

>"And in recent events in DC the Antifa people were assaulting convention goers is the streets."

>>"@Resident, I suspect you're old enough to know that at least some of those depicted as AntiFa may not really be AntiFa having lived through the infiltration of many demonstrations in decades past by what are now called "false flags".

∆ Most were white supremacists comprised of QAnon conspirists, Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois and other members of the right-wing lunatic fringe including some state lawmakers and members of law enforcememt.

Predominantly as in 99% - white.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:31 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:31 am

So the antifa are false lags but the guy with the antlers on his head are not a false flag? Sorry - Antifa is very proud of their efforts and get a lot of funding foo doing what they do. [Post removed.]


R. Cavendish
Registered user
another community
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:34 am
R. Cavendish, another community
Registered user
on Mar 4, 2021 at 11:34 am

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.