The Open Space Council Blog


Launching a planning process

March 19, 2019


As you can read about here, the Bay Area Open Space Council has turned the corner on its path to stability. This month we are launching an 8-month process to develop a Vision, Strategy, and Implementation Plan to set the future direction for the organization’s next chapter and lay the foundation for a relevant and sustainable organization. We want to be open about our goals, the process, and who is involved.


For almost thirty years, the Bay Area Open Space Council has provided a home for those dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of the Bay Area’s natural and working landscapes, water and outdoor recreation. It has provided science and information to guide our work, connections and collaboration to expand conservation funding, and kinship among those who care for our land and water. As the Council noted in its letter to our members in December, “the Open Space Council is essential to the Bay Area conservation community, and therefore indirectly to all 7.5 million people living in these ten counties who benefit from breathing clean air, drinking clean water, and living near 1.4 million acres of natural lands.”

Much has changed in the past thirty years – we are wired and connected in ways we couldn’t have envisioned in 1990 and the Bay Area Open Space Council now needs to evolve to meet the needs of 21st century land and water stewards. The programs and services the Council has provided have not proven to be sustainable and in the past year, the Council has struggled financially and considered closing its doors, believing that it may have served its purpose. Generous donations by several conservation organizations, as well as leadership from many around the Bay Area, have provided the opportunity to revisit the purpose and direction of the Council.


The goals of this planning process are to:

Guiding Principles

The Board has generally agreed to rebuild the organization guided by the following principles about the work of the land and water conservation community:

Desired Outcomes

The desired outcomes of the planning process are:

Planning Committee and Feasibility Working Group

The Planning Committee and Feasibility Working Group will be established in March 2019 and consist of Board and Advisory Council members, and representatives from a variety of Bay Area organizations engaged in stewardship, land conservation, working lands, recreation, and outdoor access to underserved communities. The role of the Planning Committee is to provide direction to the Project Team throughout the process. A subcommittee of the Planning Committee – the Feasibility Working Group (FWG) will be responsible for providing high-level input into the financial and operational scenarios and the final financial and operational plan included in the Vision and Implementation Plan.

The members of the Planning Committee include:

There will be four meetings of the Planning Committee throughout the planning process: May, June, September, and October.

The Board of Directors will make decisions based on the Planning Committee’s recommendations.

Planning Team



Financial support

Four members have stepped up to provide financial support for this important planning process. We thank Marin County Parks and Open Space District, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, and Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District for their leadership and support.



Please contact Annie Burke at [email protected]