Residents create petition to save trees at Flood Park with gathering planned for April 25

by Alice Newton on April 22, 2021
The San Mateo County Parks Dept.’s new conceptual Landscape Plan 2020 for Flood Park (Menlo Park) passed 11/10/20 by the SMC Board of Supervisors contains many new amenities and improvements requested in public input meetings held in 2015.  Although 92% of the 900 trees in the park will be preserved in the Plan, of the remaining 8% (72 trees), over half are large old native CA Live Oaks, Valley Oaks, Redwoods, and other trees that are slated for removal to build new amenities. 
Some of these are in areas shown for new pathways and a new playground location.  Twenty-two of these trees are within the circle of picnic sites in the meadow ecosystem along Bay Road where a second full-size lacrosse/soccer field is planned.  The Tree Report with maps and lists of trees to be removed are at the end of the 9/26/20 Errata to the Final Revised EIR

The Design Phase for Landscape Plan 2020 is about to begin with construction expected to start in 2022.   Flood Park Tree Advocates 2021 is a small ad hoc group of local people concerned about preserving CA native trees and ecosystems who want to help the public become more aware of which trees are slated for removal in Flood Park prior to the Parks Dept.’s public input meeting which will be sometime in the next few months. (No date yet.)  
We want to be clear that our purpose is not to oppose any amenities but to save as many large old native trees as possible.  As example, on March 15th, two very large Bay Laurel trees blew down which might open up space to shift the proposed ballfield and save some native oaks.   Other options may be possible.

We have created a petition to send to the SMC Parks Department soon. You can sign online. We don’t need donations of money.
The petition states: The San Mateo County Parks Department’s Landscape Plan 2020 preserves 92% of the trees in Flood Park. Among the remaining 8% (72 trees) planned for removal in Flood Park to build new amenities, over half are healthy native trees of varying sizes, many quite old and large. We, the undersigned, value these trees for their beauty, their importance in the ecosystem of the park, and their role in combatting global warming. We request that new amenities be built under and around native trees, and that the reason for each of the 72 trees slated for removal be published on the SMC Reimagine Flood Park website prior to the first public input meeting.”

To honor these old native trees, we are hosting a combined Earth Day/Arbor Day ceremony and information session on Sunday, April 25th, at 3:00 pm in the oak meadow near the Pine group picnic site along Bay Road.  Park rules request COVID-19 safety precautions of wearing masks and standing 6′ apart. There is no longer a fee to park.

For more information and updates email:
Photos by Alice Newtwon (c) 2021


Ken Rutsky April 22, 2021 at 10:25 am

Personally I could not disagree more with this sentiment. A second playing field has VERY high value for the community. Flood Park has been neglected for years and does not deliver near the value it can. I love the new plan, it looks beautiful. The plan saves SO many trees. Flood Park is NOT anything like a nature preserve. I love the oaks, but the community is in very large need for playspace; soccer fields and lacrosse fields, etc. This will be a game changing asset to the community, and the fact that it can be done saving 92% of the trees should be lauded, not protested.

Judy Horst April 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

Though the County has been working on its plan for several years, for many of us this is the first we’ve been aware of how many trees will be lost, at least 72, half of which are Significant or Heritage trees. Since trees are on the front line in the war against climate change, perhaps the County should rethink its plan. Surely there are many other places in the park or on school grounds for sports fields.

Alice Newton April 22, 2021 at 10:47 am

Ken Rutsky – I think you are misunderstanding. The Landscape Plan 2020 for Flood Park is based on requests by the public in 2015 and will be terrific in many ways. Our group wants the Co. Parks Dept. to make a few tweaks to save some of the largest and oldest trees that are in the areas most frequented by the public.

Ken Rutsky April 22, 2021 at 11:50 am

I agree it is terrific! I guess IMHO it seems balanced. Sure it is good if they can save more trees, it’s an obvious yes. But I think that 8% is a relatively good tradeoff, sure tweak, but let’s not get into a long draw out fight and through out the good for the bad. I personally see good balance, every heritage tree is a loss BUT so is the vast underutilized asset of a underinvested in and old and tired public space.

Flood Park Regular April 27, 2021 at 1:41 am

Ken, I agree. Let’s hope this effort to save 8% of the trees doesn’t derail a 100% improvement to a much needed asset for our city and county. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Those of us ready to see the upgrade come to life need to be just as vocal about moving forward with the redevelopment plans.

Dorothy Fadiman April 23, 2021 at 7:56 pm

Thank you Alice Newton and Judy Horst.
You both echo my concerns and my hopes.
With appreciation
Dorothy Fadiman

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