Issue 129 – November 2022
Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District’s 50th Anniversary
The California JPIA recognizes the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD), which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.
MPRPD was established in November 1972 through the voice of the Committee for Open Space, formed by the voters of Monterey Peninsula and a coalition composed of the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, and the Audubon Society. From the start, the District has been entrusted to acquire lands to preserve open space and provide recreational opportunities. In the 50 years since its formation, MPRPD has successfully protected approximately 14,000 acres of open space while maintaining balanced budgets and minimal overhead. In addition, the District has acquired or helped to acquire 24 parks from the seven incorporated cities on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel Valley, Pebble Beach, and the Big Sur coast.
The MPRPD boasts a variety of wildlife species that cover habitats ranging from coastal bluffs and dunes to ponds, woodlands, and canyons. As diverse as the habitats it covers, MPRPD park offerings include hiking, biking, fishing, birdwatching, dog parks, outdoor classrooms, and more. In addition, the District has helped other entities acquire open spaces. MPRPD has provided more than $1 million in grant funds to other park and recreation districts and organizations to improve their infrastructure, accessibility, programming, and offerings. By granting funds to other organizations, the District has increased access to parks and open spaces for more than 65,000 residents, thus expanding the MPRPD ethos beyond District properties.
Since its origination, the MPRPD has had community involvement at all levels, from its board of directors to volunteer participation. Today, the District offers many ways to get involved, including its Community A.L.I.V.E. volunteer program and service learning through California State University, Monterey Bay, “Let’s Go Outdoors!” public programs, and education and group activities. The community is very involved with the MPRPD, which makes it easy for staff to receive feedback when determining which programs to offer. When considering programs suggested from public feedback, the District confers with Authority staff to help assess the risk of programming.
“The California JPIA has been a proud partner of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District for many years. The District furthers its important mission by working with area municipalities to offer open space, parks, and play development areas,” said Senior Risk Manager Tim Karcz. “The Authority assists the district by providing important training for agency staff and analysis on complicated contracts and arrangements to help make these important programs happen.”
Palo Corona Regional Park is vital to the MPRPD, enhancing the Central Coast’s habitat conservation and restoration, environmental research and education, and recreational opportunities. Since its acquisition, this regional park has re-established a critical ecological link that protects a 70-mile-long wildland corridor that begins at the Carmel River and extends southward to the Hearst Ranch in San Luis Obispo County. Future Palo Corona Regional Park plans include the monumental Carmel River Floodplain and Upland restoration project, which will convert a former golf course into native habitat and shall serve as an incident command center in response to wildfires, floods, and other detrimental events. The park also provides various recreational opportunities, including a dog park, an inclusive playground, an ADA multi-benefit community trail enhancement, and a pollinator demonstration garden.
“Palo Corona Regional Park represents the multi-functional value of open spaces. It reflects the interests and input of the community, which has informed its development for now and beyond,” said Environmental Education Coordinator Savannah Peña. “There’s a little something for everyone: restoration, conservation, education, and recreation.”
Congratulations to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District for its continued focus on preserving open space for wildlife, residents, and visitors for 50 years!< Back to Full Issue Print Article