The purpose of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is to purchase and restore permanently protected land to form a regional open space greenbelt. This greenbelt is used preserve unspoiled wilderness and wildlife habitats as well as the land's watersheds, viewsheds and fragile ecosystems. Because the area is meant to offer environmental education, all recreational use is low-intensity in nature.
There are currently 24 open space preserves, with varying types of uses and facilities. Nearly half have restrooms.
The district covers 550 square miles and includes Atherton, Cupertino, East Palo Alto, El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Menlo Park Montara, Monte Sereno, Moss Beach, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Gregorio, Saratoga, Stanford, Sunnyvale and Woodside.
In 2004, the district's boundaries were extended to the Pacific Ocean, from the southern border of Pacifica to the southern border of Santa Cruz County.
This governmental body is supported by a small share of property tax revenues, approximately 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed property. It is governed by a seven-member board of directors, representing geographic wards, and elected every four years. In election years when there is no opponent, the incumbent is elected to a new term.
The board holds public meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 7pm, at the District headquarters in Los Altos.
In addition, special public hearings and neighborhood meetings are held periodically on specific issues.
Hard copies of the agenda can be mailed at a cost of $25 annually by calling District's Clerk's office.
Preserves include: Bear Creek Redwoods, Coal Creek, El Corte de Madera Creek, El Sereno, Foothills, Fremont Older, La Honda Creek, Long Ridge, Los Trancos, Monte Bello, Picchetti Ranch, Pulgas Ridge, Purisima Creek Redwoods, Rancho San Antonio, Ravenswood, Russian Ridge, Saratoga Gap, Sierra Azul, Skyline Ridge, St. Joseph's Hill Stevens Creek, Teague Hill, Thornewood and Windy Hill.
The district has an active volunteer program, which can be viewed online at OpenSpace.org.