Volunteers help Belmont’s parks flourish

The+magnificent+scenery+of+Hidden+Canyon+and+Water+Dog+Park+is+accessible+thanks+to+the+work+and+support+of+Belmont%27s+community.

Kenzo Peraire

The magnificent scenery of Hidden Canyon and Water Dog Park is accessible thanks to the work and support of Belmont’s community.

Residents of Belmont have continued to enjoy the luxury of several well-maintained parks largely due to its community’s immense support.

“Belmont parks offer so much to our community. They offer a place to socialize, play, relax, exercise, and compete, and are even more important now that we rely on outdoor space to gather safely,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ulla Foehr.

Throughout the country, volunteering is the obvious solution to maintain precious parks. The National Park Service alone brings in about 221,000 volunteers that contribute 6.4 million hours of their time each year.

The same holds true for Belmont as it heavily relies on volunteers for park improvement.

“The majority of trail maintenance and improvement work is done by volunteers. Volunteers have always been vital to the upkeep of Belmont’s trails and open space. Similarly, during non-COVID times, volunteers are an essential part of our Senior and Community Center operation, and VOICES, our teen volunteer group, help us host our signature annual special events as well as at organizations throughout San Mateo County,” said Parks and Recreation Director Brigitte Shearer. 

According to a Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Element, Belmont strives to maintain at least 5 acres of neighborhood and community parks per 1000 residents. To maintain such numbers, the city needs to attract volunteers and community support.

The city offers several volunteering options ranging from individual to group activities with varying levels of commitment. For example, the Adopt-A-Park, Bench, Picnic Table, or Bulletin Board allows residents to provide funding for their beloved local parks. Moreover, trail improvement projects can be great opportunities to help local trail systems while working cooperatively outdoors with other people.

Young outdoor enthusiasts help maintain their local Belmont trails to make the parks better for everyone. (Hayes Gaboury)

“People love to give back to their community. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and a good way for groups to gather, even when adhering to social distancing. Volunteering is one way to be a part of the solution rather than just pointing out problems,” Foehr said.

Moreover, independent groups such as the Friends of Waterdog and Waterdog Trailkeepers help keep Waterdog Park fantastic. Furthermore, passionate community members have even conducted trail work outside of Belmont’s official parks. For example, the story of how a small hillside was turned into an amazing bike trail system known as Carlmont Jumps.

The effort of residents has not gone unnoticed, and the City of Belmont is striving to implement further improvements to its parks to meet the needs of the community. In the next few weeks, Belmont will be launching its Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan to fund significant park improvements and proposals.

The passion and support of a community that loves to give back have given way to the sustainability and growth of beautiful, inclusive, and healthy parks.

Sanaa Kapur, Youth Parks and Recreation Commissioner, said, “Belmont’s volunteers facilitate the improvement of our parks and open space, a central aspect of our community. They aspire to enhance the experience of the community by keeping the parks clean and preserving Belmont’s natural beauty.”

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