Preserve gets closer to reality 

A $1.3 million educational center to inform the public about native plants and expand volunteer efforts in Edgewood Park will break ground next month, years after residents began pushing to have it built.

Julia Bott, executive director of the San Mateo County Parks Foundation, said the center will be a gateway to the park rather than the destination.

“Edgewood is a very unique place with lots of biodiversity,” she said. “It’s very rich in plant and animal species and it’s very close to an urban area. The building will give it a new life.”

Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve is located on Edgewood Road near Interstate 280. The 467-acre park has five trails available to hikers and horseback riders as well as docent-led tours.

Bott said efforts to build a center began in 2002. After years of fundraising efforts, the building will have a main exhibit room that explains the flora and fauna found in the park as well as two amphitheaters for outdoor learning.

According to county documents, the center will “incorporate many of the latest ‘green’ features, including reused materials, solar power and insulation made from recycled blue jeans.”

Schedules are being created that will establish a timeline for completed construction, according to Bott.

An estimated 700 schoolchildren visit the park each year on field trips to learn about native California species, Bott said. With the addition of the center, Bott said the volunteer group Friends of Edgewood hopes to double that number.

“The park lets kids look at California the way it was before it was settled,” Bott said. “It’s a way for classrooms to work with local flora and wildlife.”

An estimated 10,000 volunteers clean the site and host hikes and tours.

Paul Heiple, the Friday Lead Weeder with Friends of Edgewood, said the education center will help visitors understand what they are looking at in the park.

“What we have is quite a few rare plants,” he said. “Not everyone knows what they are or what they look like.”
Heiple said he volunteers as many as 300 hours a year at the park because Edgewood is a unique place.

“There are fewer and fewer places like this in California,” he said. “They keep developing them.”

Bott said the construction of the building will not destroy any of the native species the center is there to promote and protect.

Instead, it will be built where invasive species have taken up residence and surrounding trees will not be moved. 


Edgewood Park and Nature Preserve

467 Acres

5 Trails

11,200 Square feet in an education and interpretive center

10,000 Volunteers

700 Student visitors

Source: San Mateo County and San Mateo County Parks Foundation

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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