Effort to save Flood Park oak trees continues

by Linda Hubbard on July 10, 2021

Menlo Park resident Alice Newton continues her work as a member of local ad hoc group Flood Park Tree Advocates 2021 in an effort to save many large oak trees that the San Mateo County Parks Dept. plans to remove as part of its renovation Plan 2020. Her group wants the Parks Dept. to build the new pathways, playgrounds, and picnic areas under and around trees.

“This wooded picnic area along Bay Road is some of the only historic oak woodland left in our urban area that is open to the public and not developed or privately owned,” says Alice.  “It is a peaceful ecosystem and also vital to helping offset climate warming by the carbon sequestration of the trees.”

An 1897 map shows that the old baseball diamond and proposed multipurpose field in the northeast half of the park were never woodland because the land composition changes as it nears the bay.

“The County Parks Dept. says the Plan 2020 will preserve trees and that they won’t remove any ‘heritage’ trees, but they define a ‘heritage’ tree as having a diameter over 48″ whereas Menlo Park’s tree ordinance protects indigenous oaks with diameters as small as 10″, Alice says. ” County Parks also states that Plan 2020 preserves 92% of the trees in Flood Park. However, among the 8% planned for removal, 31 are oaks, many with trunk diameters ranging from 20-48 inches plus various trees in other areas of the park, 72 total.

“Sports groups requested both the multipurpose field and a second large field which is planned along Bay Road in the heart of the oak woodland.  A ballfield must be in an open area so 16 oak trees plus other trees must be removed to build it.”

Alice’s tree advocates group hopes the Parks Dept will modify the location of that ballfield or possibly acquire the old Flood School site adjacent to the park where the Ravenswood School District plans to build housing.

The Parks Dept. will have a public input meeting when the design is 30% complete.  The purpose of Alice’s group is to inform the public in preparation for that meeting.  Their petition has over 1300 signatures.

For the petition and updates see https://www.change.org/SaveFloodParkTrees.  County Parks will present their design contractor to the SMCo Board of Supervisors on 7/13/21.  Email the BOS at boardfeedback@smcgov.org.  Email the Director of County Parks, Nicholas Calderon, at ncalderone@smcgov.org.  To join an email list for information, email floodparktrees@gmail.com.

Photo of Alice at her Flood Park information stand by Judy Horst; photo of picnic area by Alice Newton

One Comment

Alice Newton July 10, 2021 at 6:41 pm

Thank you, Linda Hubbard, for publishing this article and photos. As of now, 6:25 pm, there are 1505 signatures on the petition! Another important reason that the location of the second ballfield along Bay Road is problematic is that it is close to the pedestrian gate on Bay Road. Parents will drop off and pick up players there to save time. Also, parents will drop off players at the gate because at the planned drop-off site in the parking lot they wouldn’t be able to see their kids reach the field due to buildings in the way. Cars stopped at the gate force bicyclists into the vehicle lane. Parking is free in the park, but this already happens for people wanting shortcuts and there will be increased traffic due to sports practices/games so this will be extra dangerous. People will also want to park on neighborhood streets near the gate for convenience despite parking restriction signs and this would be every day all year. We need a better location for this field.

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