Photo: Jen Hale

Together we can do more

You're invited to a regional conversation.

Upcoming Gathering


What Park Visitors Really Want and Need: A Tale of Two County Park Departments as Told Through Visitor Surveys

Do you really know what visitors think of your public lands?

Instead of making assumptions, there are strategic ways of collecting data that help influence policies, operations, fundraising, and public relations. Data from visitor surveys can help build the case for support and investment of our public lands. Under the leadership of renowned researcher Dr. Nina Roberts, Marin County Parks and San Mateo County Parks undertook extensive surveys of visitors to their parks, trails, and open spaces.

Join us at our March Gathering for a discussion about the Marin and San Mateo County surveys and what they mean for public lands around the region. The speakers will be:

  • Dr. Nina Roberts, San Francisco State University
  • Dr. Patrick Tierney, San Francisco State University
  • Max Korten, Director, Marin County Parks
  • Sarah Birkeland, Interim Director, San Mateo County Parks
  • Pat O’Brien, moderator, Bay Area Open Space Council Board member


The March Gathering will be held on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. Doors open at 9:30am. The program starts at 10am and there will be ample time for Q&A with the audience. Lunch will be served from 12-1pm. We’ll be using #OSCvisitors to talk about the event on social.

Register now


Open Space Conference


Since 1999 the Open Space Council has convened an annual conference in the spring. Each is unique with a new theme and a diverse set of speakers.

The Open Space Conference is the place to lift our heads up from the day-to-day and look at the big picture, with with colleagues from around the Bay Area. It is where we can discover potential partners, and reconnect with our collaborators, who share our goals and values.  Attendees include funders, donors, policy makers, Executive Directors, General Managers, communications leaders, land managers, park builders, and more – a who’s who in parks, resources management, and land conservation.

Together, we will discover new ways to adapt to changing populations, climates, and funding realities; it is the place to be inspired, to learn, and to grow.

Learn more and join us.

Past Gatherings


Four times a year the Open Space Council convenes a Gathering about a topic relevant to land conservation in the Bay Area. 120-130 people attend from around the region to hear speakers, get information, and talk with colleagues. Ideas are shared, partnerships are born, and the community gets stronger.

Topics have included:

  • Status of California State Parks
  • Lessons learned from conservation ballot measures
  • Affordable housing and parks
  • Interactive web-based maps and mobile apps
  • Grazing and conservation
  • Water districts and conservation


Speakers have included:

  • Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro
  • Peter Birch, Google Maps
  • Mary Ruckelshaus, Natural Capital Institute
  • Sergio Jimenez, San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission


See the topics, speakers, presentations, and photos from the past 6 years of Gatherings.

From the blog