Open Space Preservation History

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Summary of Carlsbad’s Open Space History

Carlsbad has a long history of prioritizing the protection of open space and natural resources and providing open spaces for community recreation. A summary and links (if available) of some of the major efforts related to open space in Carlsbad include:

  • Citizens Committee for the Review of the Land Use Element (1985) made recommendations on policies related to future growth, including open space.
  • Citywide Facilities and Improvements Program (1986), a part of the Growth Management Program (1986), sets standards for 11 public facilities, including parks and other open space.
  • Citizens Committee for Open Space (1988-1989) reviewed the city’s open space plans and programs and made recommendations on open space protection. 
  • Open Space and Conservation Resource Management Plan (1992) called for development of a comprehensive open space system.
  • General Plan Open Space and Conservation Element (1994) included policies to guide protection and creation of open space areas, including policies that aligned with the recommendations of the Citizens Committee for Open Space.
  • Open Space Advisory Committee (1990-1995) reviewed and made recommendations on the open space of master plans and other major development proposals.
  • Proposition C (2002) authorized the City Council to spend more than $1 million to acquire open space and build trails.  As of 2022, the city has spent $4.2 million on open space and trails projects, including South Shore Agua Hedionda Lagoon Trail Improvements, Arroyo Vista Trail Extension, Lake Calavera Trails, 6125 Paseo del Norte open space purchase and Aura Circle open space purchase.  $1.8 million remains budgeted for future open space purchases.
  • Trails Program Report (2001) and Trails Implementation Plan (2002) outlined a future vision for a citywide trails plan and identified private trails to be made public and new public trails to be built.
  • Community Forest Management Plan (2002/2019) describes how the city will care for its trees (on city owned properties), provides a list of the tree species the city can plant in areas adjacent to public streets, and sets a goal of increasing the overall number of trees on city owned or controlled properties.
  • Habitat Management Plan (2004) guides the preservation and protection of sensitive biological resources within the city while allowing for continued economic development. The plan guides the design, management, monitoring, and public use of the city’s natural open space preserve system. Carlsbad is the only North County city with an approved Habitat Management Plan, which is a 50-year comprehensive biological approach to preserving natural land for plant and animal species.
  • Open Space Management Plan (2005) establishes procedures, standards, guidelines and conditions for long-term conservation and management of sensitive species and habitat.
  • Proposition C Open Space and Trails Ad Hoc Committee (2005 – 2007); established a prioritized list of potential property acquisitions for open space protection and trail linkages.  The committee’s recommendations aided the City Council in the use of Proposition C funds (see “Proposition C”, above).
  • General Plan Open Space and Conservation Element (2015) provides policies that address the communities open space needs for habitat and resource conservation, and parks and recreation.
  • Parks and Recreation Department Master Plan (2015, update in process) identifies needs and priorities for park and recreation facilities; provides a guide to achieve a balance of programming, facilities and amenities.
  • Trails Master Plan (2019) is a blueprint for how city trails will be developed and managed in the future.
  • Carlsbad Preserve Management Plan (2021) provides management, monitoring, and
    reporting guidelines for the conservation goals for certain properties owned and managed
    by the City of Carlsbad.