fog rolls through a forest of trees


The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is a unique form of government agency – an independent, special purpose district – that was created by voters in 1972 to preserve open space, defined as land or water area that either remains in its natural state or is used for agriculture or otherwise essentially undeveloped, in perpetuity.

Governing Policies

As a special district, Midpen uses a variety of policies to govern our work to fulfill our mission and to regulate how open space lands are used.

graphic of interrelated policies


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 San Mateo County Coastside, the mission is expanded: to acquire and preserve 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.

Basic Policy

In 1999, the board of directors developed an overall Basic Policy to guide the agency and to provide information to the public about the mission, purpose, strategic direction and major elements of our operations. For example, the Basic Policy states that Midpen's primary purpose is to preserve open space and that the development of traditional recreation facilities is the responsibility of cities and counties, and explains the how the agency works to acquire land, manage resources and provide equitable public access. The Coastal Service Plan, approved by the board in 2003, summarizes the services provided and policies that apply to District activities within the Coastside Protection Area. The Midpen board has formed an ad hoc committee to review the Basic Policy to identify any gaps with the Coastal Service Plan. For further information, please call 650-691-1200 or email

Good Neighbor Policy

Midpen is strongly committed to establishing and maintaining good relationships with all of our residents and neighbors. To set forth how the District engages with property owners and residents who live adjacent or very close to preserves, the board adopted a Good Neighbor Policy. We are in the process of reviewing and updating the Good Neighbor Policy. For further information, please call 650-691-1200 or email

Resource Management Policies

Resource Management Policies guide the management of land to protect plants, animals, water, soil, terrain, geologic formations, historic resources, scenic features and cultural resources on Midpen owned and/or managed lands. RMPs are used to help guide the overall planning, budgeting and decision-making processes for programs and individual preserves.

Agricultural Policy

The Agricultural Policy clarifies and defines Midpen’s role in fulfilling our unique coastal mission, which includes encouraging viable agricultural use of land resources on the San Mateo County Coastside. This policy was updated in 2023 through a robust public process in order to consolidate existing board-adopted policies that deal with agriculture and provide a decision-making tool for Midpen's staff and board that is informed, consistent and effective.

Vision Plan

Following a thorough resource assessment and a comprehensive community engagement process, Midpen crafted a promising vision for the future of open space. The Vision Plan consists of 54 project portfolios that outline our work to fulfill our mission of land protection, habitat restoration and low-intensity recreation. Learn more about Midpen's Vision Plan.

Measure AA

In 2014, voters overwhelmingly passed Measure AA, a 30-year, $300 million general obligation bond, to partially fund land conservation, public access and restoration projects included in the top 25 vision plan priority action portfolios. Measure AA bond expenditures are reviewed annually by a Bond Oversight Committee to ensure accountability and transparency.

Preserve Regulations, Safety and Etiquette

Visitors are responsible for knowing and obeying all rules and regulations before visiting the preserves.

District rules are designed to protect visitors and natural resources, and to help make everyone's visit a safe and enjoyable experience. Please observe District Regulations and Ordinances for your safety and enjoyment, as well as the safety and enjoyment of others.

In the case of providing proof of indigence when paying parking citations, please refer to the District Indigency Policy.

Board Policies

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