The Open Space Council Blog


Tales from Two County Park Departments and the Gathering

March 17, 2017


The Almost Spring Gathering on March 16, 2017 focused on the results of extensive visitor use surveys in Marin and San Mateo County Parks. The panelists and attendees discussed how these results can be applied in making strategic decisions that affect how parks, trails, and open spaces are accessed, managed, and used.

Many significant findings were highlighted during Dr. Roberts’s and Dr. Tierney’s overview of their visitor studies. Learn more about them by checking out the presentation below. And attendees followed up with great questions that made for an informative and lively Q&A. A sampling of talking points that arose from the Q&A included that visitors really are reading park signs, and therefore how important it is that they are legible and offered in multiple languages. How signs written only in English can be a safety issue for some communities. How millennials are interacting with outdoor spaces in ways that differ from other age groups. How results from these studies can help identify funding opportunities. How some parks are handling transportation options to break down barriers to park access. And much more. Keep reading to get the audience’s take on the day on Twitter.

Here are the speakers, panelists, and the presentation:


 A Tale of Two Counties:  San Mateo & Marin Visitor Use and Non‐Use Study from OpenSpaceCouncil


Here are links to the survey reports and associated articles:


Fall 2015 Visitor Use Study: Understanding our Visitors to Improve our Services

Marin County Parks: Focus Group Report

County of Marin – News Releases – Parks Visitor Survey

San Mateo:

Visitor Use/Non-Use Parks Study Visitor Use/Non-Use Parks Study: San Mateo County Parks Department- 2015-2016


…a glimpse into what the day looked like. For more photos, check out our Flickr album:


…and what attendees were saying on Twitter using #OSCvisitors:

Thanks to all who attended. And to everyone out there asking questions and exploring solutions that enhance accessibility and equity around our parks and public lands.