Old Trees, New Trails
I’m a longtime resident of Los Gatos and an avid open space user. Over the past year I’ve been advocating with the Midpeninsula Open Space District to increase focus on great user experience for hikers, cyclists and equestrians while maintaining excellence in protecting and restoring the land.
I would like to thank Pete Siemens, who is retiring this year as the long-time director for Midpen’s Ward 1, for his decades of service to our lands and communities. Pete has been a great defender of the environment as well as a strong advocate for public access to open space. Before his time at Midpen he was instrumental in protecting our hillsides from development.
The filing period for this November’s election closed on August 17th and I was the only qualifying candidate for Ward 1. The Midpen board will appoint me as the next director for the ward with a term beginning in January 2023. I’m excited to take on this new role and will do my best to ensure that Midpen provides the best experiences and best environmental stewardship. Thank you all for your support and encouragement, and please feel free to submit comments, questions and suggestions through the contact link!
Measure AA represented a shift in focus from acquisition/preservation to preservation/access. Drawing on extensive dialog with equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers, I have worked with Midpen staff and board members to promote changes that will improve all users’ experiences, including:
- Value trails over roads: Trails are built for people; roads are built for vehicles. The best trail systems provide great experiences and protect the environment with purpose-built, sustainable trails.
- Adopt modern multi-use trail policies: As the mix of open space users has evolved, modern designers and managers have developed better methods like dual use (hike/bike and hike/equestrian) trails to provide great experiences for everyone.
- Improve traffic flow to reduce high speed crossings: When mountain bikes became popular in the 80’s and 90’s, land managers often confined them to wide, steep roads. These choices still negatively impact user experience in many parts of the trail system.
Since 1972, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has acquired open space in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and protected these lands from development. Midpen manages 65,000 acres across 26 open space preserves, 24 of which are currently open for ecologically sensitive recreation including hiking, biking, trail running, horse riding, dog walking and other activities
Midpen is divided into seven wards, each with a director. The Board of Directors works with staff to guide policy and direction. The public is encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions to the board through written and verbal comment.
On November 8th, 2022, voters in Midpen’s Ward 1, roughly comprising Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and parts of Cupertino, will cast their votes for a new member of Midpen’s Board of Directors. Ward 1 includes St. Joseph’s Hill, Sierra Azul, Bear Creek Redwoods, Fremont Older and Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserves.
I have traveled almost all trails in Midpen’s preserves including every inch in Ward 1. I’ve spoken to trail users, to advocacy organizations, to elected officials and to Midpen staff about these trails and preserves. I have a clear vision for how these preserves could improve, for what Midpen does well and for where it could fulfill its mission better.
I hope to win your vote for Midpen Ward 1 Director on November 8th, 2022.
Living in Los Gatos since 1995, I’ve been an avid user of open space preserves in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. I enjoy these spaces as a hiker, dog walker and mountain biker. My wife of 32 years and my older daughter are avid hikers. My younger daughter is an equestrian.
I’ve worked as a manager and technical lead in the computer chip design and automation industry since 1984, for Hewlett-Packard, Synfora and Synopsys. I co-founded Synfora in 2003 and the company was acquired by Synopsys in 2010.
I’m a strong supporter of and donor to environmental, ecological and open space causes such as POST, Sempervirens Fund, Save the Redwoods League, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Sierra Club and Audubon Society. I also support our local tribal organizations who are working to restore traditional stewardship practices and support indigenous descendants.
A lot of my free time is spent as a volunteer with Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority and Grassroots Ecology, where I help build and maintain trails, perform volunteer trail patrol duties, and work on environmental restoration.
Recently I was appointed to the Parks Commission for the Town of Los Gatos, where I am one of seven voting members who advise the Town Council on the parks and open spaces in my own backyard.
“Craig is thoughtful, curious and dedicated. His long-time passion for hiking and biking, coupled with his regular volunteer work to create and maintain trails, has given him strong insight into how our open spaces can best be preserved and enjoyed. Through experience and outreach, he understands the perspective of equestrians, hikers, and cyclists. Craig’s studied approach takes all users into account as he envisions the future of MidPen, continuing the mission of acquisition and preservation, and making further strides to improving access. The importance of open space, for native plant and animal species, our environment, human connection to nature…this can’t be overstated. The health of our future is tied to preserving and enjoying open space, and Craig has a vision that will benefit all.”Maria Ristow: Vice-Mayor, Town of Los Gatos
“Craig will make a great addition to the Board. He has the perfect personality for the job: A polite and patient listener, a calm and thoughtful questioner, and someone who wants to thoroughly understand all facets of an issue. In deciding to run for the Board, he has sought out lengthy discussions of land management issues not just with me, a retired District ranger, but with preserve visitors of all stripes— equestrians, runners, dog walkers, and mountain bikers. As a former employee, current District docent, and lifelong naturalist, I know we will need his kind of steady and committed leadership to overcome the huge challenges confronting us—wildfire threats, endangered species protection, and invasive plants and animal management. With his inclusive mindset, Craig seeks common ground solutions to problems, whether for trail use decisions, or major policy goals. I hope he will with wit and wisdom grace the podium for many years to come.”Frances Reneau: Retired MROSD Ranger and current docent