Founded in 1956, the County Parks and Recreation Department has grown from four to twenty-eight regional parks. The Department manages a network of over 52,000 acres of regional parks and trails along hillsides adjacent to the urban fringe and along the creeks that pass through the urban service area. The Department operates a diverse park system offering a wide range of recreational opportunities including: five camping parks (one outfitted with yurts), ten reservoirs for recreational boating and fishing, 350 miles of hiking, horseback riding, and biking trails, a motorcycle park, hang gliding in Ed Levin Park, historic and cultural sites (such as, Agricultural Heritage at Martial Cottle Park, Casa Grande Mining Museum at Almaden Quicksilver County Park, etc.), a boat launch to the San Francisco Bay at Alviso Marina Park, and many other amenities of broad appeal within a regional park system that contains some of the County’s finest natural resources.
The Department enjoys a stable funding source via the Park Charter Fund, a provision in the County Charter approved six times over the past four decades by voters that provides a set aside of property taxes to support the acquisition, development and operation of the County’s regional park system. The Department carries out its mission with the support of over 250 staff, hundreds of dedicated volunteers, and cooperative relationships with aligned agencies and organizations throughout the region.