Background of Shoreline Park in Burlingame

In October 2019, the California State Lands Commission approved a lease for a nine-acre waterfront nature park in Burlingame, on a parcel of public trust land.

In an area of Burlingame dominated by hotels and development, supporters saw the proposed Shoreline Park in Burlingame as a rare opportunity to provide Bay Area residents with access to open space and direct entry to the Bay.

This stretch of shoreline has the lowest percentage of open space and parks and the highest percentage of industrial and infrastructure land uses of any of the 30 Operational Landscape Units identified by the SFEI San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas. Only 1% of the Bay’s shoreline in this planning area is considered undeveloped open space.

The proposed park will provide much-needed space and amenities for a wide range of activities.  The park will include three large lawns with a picnic area, educational kiosks designed to teach people of all ages about the marshland and the surrounding natural area, and resources for visitors to enjoy kayaking, windsurfing and fishing. 

Next Steps

Shoreline Park in Burlingame is being developed in a collaboration between the SPHERE Institute and the San Mateo Resource Conservation District. The park will be funded with SPHERE’s direct support, state and federal grants, and individual donations. The State Lands Commission has so far approved an initial three-year lease to conduct due diligence and advance approvals.

Along with providing recreation opportunities for area residents and for people from around the Bay, the park will help protect Burlingame’s shoreline from the effects of sea level rise. Plans for the park include naturally sloping marshland that will make room for storm surges that could otherwise breach the top of sea walls. These plans are in line with recommendations from Burlingame’s recently released study on sea level rise and flood risk.

In the coming year, SPHERE and partners will conduct further studies, stakeholder outreach, and general maintenance of the land parcel (including maintaining access to the Bay Trail); start the permitting process; and submit an application to the Commission for the full vision of the park. Next, the partners will conduct a full review as part of the California Environmental Quality Act, then move forward with park construction.

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