Map of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's 26 preserves.

Midpen Announces "From 50 to Forever", a Year-Long Community Celebration Marking its 50th Anniversary

THE MIDPENINSULA REGIONAL OPEN SPACE DISTRICT ANNOUNCES “FROM 50 TO FOREVER,” A YEAR-LONG COMMUNITY CELEBRATION MARKING ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Contact: Leigh Ann Gessner: 650-772-3638, lgessner@openspace.org

LOS ALTOS, Calif. [January 27, 2021] — At a public meeting last night, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors officially kicked off "From 50 to Forever," a year-long community celebration throughout 2022 recognizing the public agency’s 50th anniversary. 

Midpen was created by local voters in 1972 following a grassroots effort by community members concerned about the impacts of rapid development and growth in the area. Since then, Midpen has protected a regional greenbelt of more than 65,000 acres of public open space and agricultural lands throughout the greater Santa Cruz Mountains region. Midpen also restores the ecological health and function of the natural environment, encourages viable agricultural land use on the San Mateo County Coast, and provides nearby access to nature for the community through programs, with nearly 250 miles of trails in 24 preserves that are free and open to the public. 

Fifty years ago, a small group of concerned citizens came together, and with the support of local voters, created Midpen around a vision of “Room to Breathe” in our region for people, plants and animals,” Midpen General Manager Ana María Ruiz said. “We invite the public to join us in 2022 to celebrate how far we have come together as a community in realizing our vision, sharing stories from the last half-century of perseverance, and recognizing the contributions of people past, present and future.”

The Santa Clara and San Mateo County boards of supervisors both recognized Midpen’s 50th anniversary at their respective January meetings. Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley presented commendations at Midpen’s public meeting last night.

“Time and again, I’ve been so impressed with the passion, the dedication and the care the folks at Midpen bring to their work,” Supervisor Simitian said. “They roll up their sleeves, and they do the hard work. That’s what it takes to protect the natural resources in our region. Thank you Midpen for the past 50 years of work, and I’m looking forward to the years ahead.”

“The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has long been an important part of the fabric of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties’ regional open space identities,” Supervisor Horsley said. “I have been particularly pleased with Midpen’s support of agricultural on the San Mateo County Coast, and the quality of stewardship they apply to all of their open space holdings. Congratulations on a half-century of success and I am sure Midpen will continue for centuries to come.”

The community is invited to participate in Midpen’s “From 50 to Forever” anniversary celebration throughout 2022 in multiple ways: 

Join Community Celebrations 

Several community events are being planned throughout 2022 including an opportunity to explore the San Francisco Bay Trail and participate in the Bayside Family Festival on April 30 at Midpen’s Ravenswood Preserve; a Coastside Community Celebration at Johnston Ranch near Half Moon Bay in the fall, and an opportunity to engage with Midpen’s current projects and partners at an event hosted at our administrative office in the summer. 

Share Stories About Midpen Preserves Through “Open Hearts”

Starting in February, Midpen invites the community to submit stories about the open space preserves they most cherish and why. Submissions will be accepted via Midpen’s social media and website or by mail and will be shared on Midpen’s social media and website. Community members who participate will receive a special commemorative gift.

Connect with Nature and Each Other Through #SpottedAtMidpen

Beginning in March, visitors to Midpen preserves are encouraged to connect with nature and friends through a year-long project called #SpottedAtMidpen. Visitors can post photos of observations made atMidpen preserves to social media and tag @MidpenOpenSpace with the hashtag #SpottedAtMidpen. A monthly winner will be chosen, receive a prize and have their post widely shared. To help get participants started, a digital guide featuring local plants and wildlife that can be observed in Midpen preserves will be available on Midpen’s website at openspace.org.

Participate in a Midpen Docent Naturalist-Led Activity

To celebrate Midpen’s 50th Anniversary in 2022, we’re offering docent naturalist-led activities like the “All Preserves Great & Small” hike series to visit all 26 Midpen preserves. Join docent naturalists on these free, guided experiences to explore what makes each preserve special. Offerings will be available throughout the year. Reservations are required and can be made at openspace.org/activities.

Encounter Surprise Pop-Ups in Midpen Preserves

Pop-up events will happen in a new preserve each month. Midpen staff, board members and volunteers will set up a welcome table at selected preserves throughout the year. Day, hours and location will vary by preserve to serve locals across the District, who will be invited to share their stories, questions and concerns while learning more about Midpen. The first pop-ups will be held in Los Trancos Preserve in February and in Rancho San Antonio Preserve in March. 

“After half a century, our mission remains the same and more relevant than ever,” Midpen General Manager Ana María Ruiz said. “Midpen’s ongoing work to preserve, connect, restore and care for public land helps all life in our region meet today’s challenges with resilience and hope for the future. As we celebrate the path and people that brought us this far, we also look ahead at the next generation who will carry the work forward.” 

For more information about Midpen’s 50th anniversary, please visit: openspace.org/50-years.

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The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s mission is to acquire and preserve a regional greenbelt of open space land of regional significance in perpetuity, protect and restore the natural environment and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education. On the San Mateo County coast, our mission also includes preserving agricultural land of regional significance and rural character and encouraging viable agricultural use of land resources. Midpen has successfully protected more than 65,000 acres of public open space land in the Santa Cruz Mountains region since 1972. 

www.openspace.org 

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