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Photo by Tom Grey

Palo Alto

Integrating Nature into the Park Master Plan

In 2016 we engaged as a stakeholder in the planning of the Palo Alto Parks, Trails, Natural Open Space and Recreation Master Plan. The master plan will provide clear and long-range (25-year) guidance and recommendations on how to meet the demands for future recreational, programming, environmental, and maintenance needs, as well as establish priorities for future park renovations and facility improvements.


During the planning phase, we engaged in outreach to Palo Alto residents and Audubon members, bringing the community together with the hopes of influencing city council to consider nature in the development of the plan’s principles, policies, programs. Our campaigning was successful and the plan now prioritizes nature along with the implementation of a resilient landscape framework.


The new plan’s principles and goals include: “Incorporate native species and habitat corridors, and create opportunities to learn about and interact with nature” and “Preserve and integrate nature, natural systems and ecological principles throughout Palo Alto.” Many of the policies and programs look to enhance connectivity between natural areas, open spaces, and creeks, creating habitat corridors for wildlife, birds and pollinators “by planting native oaks and other species that support pollinators or provide high habitat values.” Other policies promote the expansion and protection of habitat and natural areas in parks and open space.


We hope that implementation of this plan together with Palo Alto’s Urban Forest Master Plan will help birds thrive in the city. By becoming engaged in the planning process of our cities, we are able to influence a balance between human development and urban ecology.


Read our Comments on Palo Alto Parks Master Plan (8/1/16)

Read our Comments on the Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Plan (6/5/17)

See the plan here.