The Open Space Council Blog


Did you see it coming?

May 10, 2016


The Bay Area Open Space Council has always been a forward thinking bunch.

While cleaning out our office, we uncovered a time capsule from our conference at the turn of the century “2001: A [Bay Area Open] Space Odyssey.” It was opened in 2005 and resealed for 2009, but it got lost in the shuffle until now.


This is what a time capsule looks like

Close up


Note the quote on the postit note



It is with great excitement we share a few of what we saw coming, what we didn’t, and what we wish came true. Put yourself back into a time before cat videos and Facebook, a time when AOL was cutting edge and Toyota had just released the Prius, and think about what you thought might have happened….


What we asked:

In 2001: By 2005, the proposed two-square mile SF airport runway expansion into the Bay will be:

What we thought:

We were pretty sure it would still be under study by 2005:


time capsule 1



And we were wrong – it was shelved in 2003. Save the Bay is credited with forcing SFO to cancel runway expansion project. In 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors announced that no new fill would be placed in the Bay for new (or the reparation of old) runways.


What we asked:

In 2001: By 2005, how many statewide park and open space bonds will California’s voters approve?

What we thought:

We were pretty sure it would be between 1 and 3 billion, and most predicted $2 billion.


time capsule 2

We were close! Voters approved $2.6 billion through California Proposition 40 (Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002) in March 2002. It allowed California to borrow through the sale of general obligation bonds for “development, restoration, and acquisition of state and local parks, recreation areas and historical resources, and for land, air, and water conservation programs.”


What we asked:

In 2005: By 2009, the Bay Area will permanently protect another:

What we thought:

There was a pretty even spread, but folks tended to think we’d protect fewer acres.

time capsule 3


We were close! In 2005, the Bay Area had permanently protected 1.07 million acres. By 2010, the total amount of protected land was just over 1.17 million acres, for an additional 100,000 protected acres.


What we asked:

In 2005: By 2009, Napa County (will / will not) have a voter approved park and open space district (with / without) dedicated funding:


What we thought:

We were confident Napa would have a voter approved park and open space district, but were divided about whether dedicated funding was needed.

time capsule 4


We were right about approval! The Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District was formed on December 12, 2006. This measure was approved at the election on November 7, 2006.

And wrong about funding. The district had no supporting public funding measure, and therefore will have to rely on outside sources for acquisition and management funding.



And now, for some write-in predictions:

Here are some we wished didn’t come true:


Here are some we are glad happened:


And lastly, some we wish had come true:


A lot has happened in 15 years since the time capsule was first sealed.

What do you think the next 15 will bring?