a trail running along a fence and wooded hillside

Who We Are

(Charles Tu)

Created in 1972, Midpen is an independent special district that helps plants, animals and people thrive throughout the greater Santa Cruz Mountains region by preserving a connected greenbelt of more than 70,000 acres of public open space. These diverse and scenic landscapes, from bay wetlands to redwood forests and coastal grasslands, host an incredible diversity of life, making our region one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.   

Our Mission

Midpen’s mission is to acquire and preserve a regional greenbelt of open space land in perpetuity, protect and restore the natural environment, and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.

On the Coast, Midpen has an expanded mission: to acquire and preserve in perpetuity open space and agricultural land of regional significance, protect and restore the natural environment, preserve rural character, encourage viable agricultural use of land resources, and provide opportunities for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education. 


The late 1960s was a time of rapid growth in the Bay Area. Through a determined and heartfelt grassroots effort by local conservationists, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District was created in 1972, when the Measure R “Room to Breathe” Initiative was passed by Santa Clara County voters. Local residents voted to expand Midpen’s boundary into southern San Mateo County in 1976, and in 1992 to a small portion of Santa Cruz County. In the late 1990s, development pressure increased on the San Mateo County Coast, threatening sensitive habitat and the area’s rural heritage. This led to the 2004 Coastside Protection Area, an extension of District boundaries to the Pacific Ocean in San Mateo County, and the addition of preserving rural character and encouraging viable agricultural use of land resources to our mission.

Represented Cities

San Mateo CountySanta Clara County


East Palo Alto

El Granada

Half Moon Bay

La Honda

Loma Mar

Menlo Park


Moss Beach


Portola Valley

Redwood City

San Carlos

San Gregorio



Los Altos

Los Altos Hills

Los Gatos

Monte Sereno

Mountain View

Palo Alto



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