La Honda Creek Master Plan

The 5,759-acre La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve consists of working ranch land, grasslands, and forests near the town of La Honda. The District is creating a 30-year use and management Master Plan for this Preserve that aims to balance the preservation of viable agriculture, cultural history, and the natural environment with public education and low-intensity recreation.

Latest News | Milestones + Updates | History

Latest News

Master Plan Public Access Implementation Delayed

Staff are currently seeking habitat restoration grants and other forms of additional funding to begin necessary access facility improvements to open lower La Honda Creek to the public.  Priority land stewardship projects identified in the Master Plan, including pond repairs and improvements to grazing infrastructure, are proceeding as planned.

The La Honda Creek Master Plan includes:

  • Creating over nine miles of new multi-use trails (including bicycles) and over 16 miles of new hiking and equestrian trails;
  • Implementing extensive resource management projects to improve wildlife habitat, restore creeks, and reduce wildfire risk;
  • Reintroducing cattle grazing to the northern portion of the Preserve, including the Red Barn area.

An Initial Study and proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) was prepared and circulated to the public for 30 days pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act. The IS/MND concluded that implementation of the proposed Master Plan, with mitigation, would not result in significant impacts on the environment.

The Master Plan establishes a long-term vision for the Preserve to guide future decisions affecting use and management of the land for the next 30 years. To implement the vision, the Plan catalogs and prioritizes improvements in the Preserve that are needed to balance resource protection with recreation. The Plan was developed through a series of public workshops (See History) with the goal of raising awareness of the value of the Preserve. Finally, the Plan includes goals, objectives, and implementation actions to address issues uncovered in the master planning process.

Full build-out of the Master Plan is anticipated to require five new District staff-- two rangers and three maintenance personnel-- hired as Master Plan phases are completed and as demand for additional staff increases.

The Master Plan would be implemented in four phases over the next 30 years. Proposed actions are prioritized based on their relative importance, critical need, and sequencing (when certain projects must precede others) to implement the District’s vision for the Preserve.

Implementation of Phase I actions would begin within 5 years of Master Plan approval, Phase II actions would be begin within 6–10 years, Phase III actions would begin within 11–20 years, and Phase IV actions would begin within 21–30 years. In addition, some actions would be ongoing throughout the life of the Master Plan. It is expected that additional sources of funding, such as grants or a funding measure, would be necessary to complete this important work and allow for proper management of the Preserve as new areas are opened and made available to the public.

If you have any questions about the Master Plan, please feel free to contact Lisa Bankosh, Project Manager, at

Project Milestones + Updates (updated 8/7/2012)

2033-2042 Phase IV Implementation
2023-2032 Phase III Implementation
2018-2022 Phase II Implementation: Trail connections, creek restoration, permanent parking areas, bridge replacement.
2012-2017 Phase I Implementation: Main access trails and interim parking areas. High-priority water quality protection projects, wildfire response plan, Red Barn site specific plan.
Aug 22 2012 Master Plan Finalized: The Board certified the environmental documents and approved the Master Plan.
Aug 1 2012 Public review period closes for the Mitigated Negative Declaration.
Jul 2 2012 Public review of environmental documents.
Apr 2012 Planning process restarts. (See the April 2012 Project Update)
From November 2009 - March 2012, the District pulled back on a several projects, including the Master Plan, because of fiscal constraints during the economic slowdown. In April 2012, the District restarted the planning process to prepare for Board certification of environmental documents and Master Plan approval in summer 2012.
Nov 12 2009 Third public hearing for Board to vote on tentative adoption of the Draft Master Plan.
Jun 16 2009 Second public hearing for Board to receive community input on the Draft Master Plan.
May 19 2009 First public hearing for Board to receive community input on the Draft Master Plan. (See the Spring Newsletter)
May 13 2009 Deadline for Written Comments on the Draft Master Plan.
(for submittal to Board for their review prior to the May 19 meeting)
Apr 22 2009 Informational only report on Draft Master Plan at a regular Board meeting. No Board action taken.
Apr 13 2009 Public Release and Review of Revised Draft Master Plan.

Project History

La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve, considered by many as a gateway to the San Mateo coast, features forests of redwood and Douglas fir, contrasting open grassland hilltops, and spectacular panoramic views leading to the coast. This Preserve's potential has only just begun to be scratched as historically only a portion of the preserve has been open to hikers and equestrians on a permit basis.

In July 2004, the District and a team of consultants kicked off the master planning process for this Preserve with an on-site meeting to review the scope of work, schedule, and budget for this project. The District master planning process aims to provide the public with greater opportunities for recreation access, interpretation, and education, while expanding livestock grazing and protecting the rural heritage, natural, cultural, and historic resources of the landscape for the long-term.

In December 2007, the District held an open house to discuss the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve Draft Master Plan. A concise list of the draft plan recommendations, true to the District's mission and incorporating many of the comments and ideas the District received from neighbors, agencies, Preserve users, and local organizations, was released. (See Draft Implementation Table and Draft Plan Maps).

The Draft La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve Master Plan was released on April 13, 2009. At the public hearing (agenda) on June 16, 2009, the District's Board of Directors received community input and discussed the Draft Master Plan. The third public hearing was held November 12 , 2009; the Board of Directors voted to tentatively approve the draft Master Plan.


  Additional Information

Press release (Aug 2012)

Master Plan and Implementation Table (Aug 2012)

Board Report (Aug 2012)

Mitigated Negative Declaration (July 2012)

Project Update (Apr 2012)


2009 Spring Newsletter

Existing Conditions Report
(Sep 2007)

2007 Winter Newsletter

La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve

Current projects

Bear Creek Redwoods Planning

Cooley Landing Project

Coastside Protection Program

Driscoll Ranch Lease & Management Plan

El Corte de Madera Watershed Protection Program

Hawthorns Historic Complex

La Honda Creek Master Plan

Mindego Gateway Project

Mindego Ranch Use and
Management Plan

Mount Umunhum Summit Project

Skyline Ridge Tree Farm Project

Vision Plan Project