Room to Breathe: The Wild Heart of the San Francisco Peninsula

Celebrating forty years of preserving open space

With San Francisco and “Silicon Valley” just down the road, the hills and valleys of the San Francisco Peninsula would have been teeming with residential development had it not been for a group of visionaries who forty years ago created the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District*. More than two hundred miles of trails bring hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists through 60,000 acres of redwood and mixed evergreen forests, oak woodlands, meadows, and streams.

Room to Breathe is a community celebration of photographs, paintings, prose, and poetry—preserve users paying homage to the gift of wildness in our midst. It serves as a keepsake for those who know this land well; and for those who don’t, it will be a revelatory introduction.

In the words of the Measure R Campaign, which founded the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District in 1972: “Open space is our green backdrop of hills. It is rolling grasslands, cool forests in the Coast Range, orchards and vineyards in the sun…It is the serene, unbuilt, unspoiled earth that awakens all our senses and makes us whole again….It is room to breathe.”

Published in collaboration with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

*The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District encompasses northwestern Santa Clara County, southern San Mateo County, the San Mateo County coastside, as well as a small portion of Santa Cruz County.


Room to Breathe is about the way open space feels to the people who spend time in it. There is something about our natural environment that inspires the senses and captures the imagination, and you can experience this in the photos, paintings, and poems collected here, which were all created by local residents based on what they experienced on open space preserves.”

—from the Introduction


About the Editors

Steve Abbors began his professional career as a naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District and has since worked as a watershed land manager for the East Bay Municipal Utility District and as general manager for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
Ken Fisher is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Fisher Investments. He is best known as the author of the Forbes’ "Portfolio Strategy"column, which he has written for more than twenty-seven years, and he is alos the author of eight bestselling books, most recently Markets Never Forget.
Kristi Britt worked for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for more than fifteen years and was its public affairs specialist for nearly ten of those. She served as editor of the quarterly newsletter Open Space Views and oversaw the production of the District’s trail guide book, Peninsula Tales and Trails.