Foothills Park Revised Visitor Capacity & Weekend Entrance Fee

Published on February 25, 2021

Foothills Park City Council Updates February 2021

With Foothills Park newly open to everyone as of December 17, holidays and weekends have continued to see very high visitation. Foothills Park visitor capacity continues to evolve and staff continues to test different approaches based on visitor patterns. Weekend entrance fees are in effect as of February 27, an annual fee is available for purchase, and fees are waived for certain groups. 

Council Action on Park Visitor Limit 

On February 22, 2021, City Council passed an ordinance further refining park visitor limits. The City Manager is now authorized to adjust the visitor limit from 300 people/120 vehicles to 650 people/260 vehicles at any one time. The following persons shall not count toward the visitor limit: 

  • Visitors with reservations in the Towle Campground, Oak Grove Picnic Area, and Interpretive Center Meeting Room  

  • City-sanctioned recreation and education groups (including City-run programs for summer camps, field trips, and community partner youth groups)  

  • Group permit holders  

  • City-sanctioned park volunteers; and   

  • Visitors arriving in a vehicle with a valid disabled person parking placard or license plate 

When the visitor capacity is reached, the Foothills Park entrance will close and reopen after 1-2 hours, depending on how many people exit the park. To help with reducing vehicles lining up at the gate, staff will turn on the digital sign located on Page Mill Road and list the specific time the park will reopen. Visitors are encouraged to travel to Foothills Park by taking Page Mill Road, so they are informed if the park entrance is closed.   

These approaches and other actions are to help manage the number of visitors in the park at one time and provide a safe, enjoyable and consistent experience for parkgoers, while protecting the natural resources at Foothills. While hikers and cyclists may continue to enter Foothills, visitors should note that parking is prohibited along most streets near the Foothills entrance gate. Blocking traffic on Page Mill Road is also prohibited.   

If Foothills Park is at capacity, we encourage you to visit one of Palo Alto's other open spaces or parks or return at a later time. 

 

Recent Council Actions on Establishing a Park Fee  

On Monday, February 1, 2021, the City Council approved the final step needed to implement a vehicle entrance fee. Please note that vehicle entrance fees are being collected on weekends and holidays starting Saturday, February 27, 2021. A weekday fee implementation will begin later in the Spring. An annual pass option was approved at the February 22, 2021 City Council meeting. Fees are waived for veterans, low-income visitors, student drivers, and persons with disabilities. 

Council established the following vehicle entrance fees and annual pass options:  

Dailey Vehicle Entrance Fees is as follows:  

  • $6 per vehicle per day;  

  • Free for entry for the following: City designated volunteers volunteering that day in the preserve, Active Military, veterans, students with ID who are driving, and vehicles with disabled person placard/license plate. 

Annual Pass (for vehicles that hold 9 people or less) 

  • $65 for non-residents 

  • $50 for residents and City employees 

  • 25% discount for seniors (resident or non-resident) 

  • Free for active military, veterans, and low-income visitors (resident or non-resident) 

 

Annual passes can be purchased the following ways starting 2/26/21: 

  • Online at CityofPaloAlto.org/enjoy 

  • Phone at (650) 463-4949 

  • In-person at Lucie Stern Community Center on Tuesdays from 9am-5pm 

The digital sign located on Page Mill Road will display a message about fees at all times, unless the park has reached capacity. 

 

Name Change: Foothills Nature Preserve 

On February 21, City Council adopted an ordinance to change the name of Foothills Park to Foothills Nature Preserve. This will take effect April 8. 

 

Seeking Foothills Park Volunteers!  

The City is seeking volunteers to help welcome visitors, answer questions about trails and nature, share Foothills Park information, and other support opportunities. If interested, please email Community Services at CSD@cityofpaloalto.org.  

Our local Foothills Park partners are seeking volunteers too! Check out these partner volunteer opportunities:  

  • Grassroots Ecology manages habitat restoration projects throughout Silicon Valley and provides environmental stewardship and education opportunities for youth and adults.   

  • Environmental Volunteers promotes the understanding of and responsibility for the environment through hands-on science education. Through this environmental science education, children and adults become inspired by the natural world and responsible stewards of the environment.  

  • Friends of Foothills Park are a small but mighty volunteer group dedicated to the preservation of the park’s natural resources and conservation of its natural features and scenic values. To inquire about volunteering, email City staff at CSD@cityofpaloalto.org

 

Online Resources  

For a map of Foothills Park (recently updated) go here: http://bit.ly/PAFoothillsParkMap  

For a flyer on what to know before you visit Foothills Park, go here: English Flyer, Spanish Flyer  

Read a recent Foothills Park How to Guide before you visit! Go here: http://bit.ly/FoothillsHowToGuide   

For a recent blog about all our local partners committed to the future of Foothills Park, go here: http://bit.ly/FoothillsParkPartners  

Learn more about the City’s open spaces here: cityofpaloalto.org/visitsafely.   

 

Last Updated: February 25, 2021 

 

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