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Portola Valley: Open space district acquires 79 acres

Original post made on Nov 15, 2011

Already rich in open space, the town of Portola Valley is richer still with the gift Tuesday (Nov. 15) to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District of 79 acres of upland meadows and ridges just south of the intersection of Alpine and Portola roads and just east of the Sweet Springs hiking trail.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 11:35 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by sad story
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Nov 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This is a fitting chapter to the Chowchilla kidnappings of 1976. The son of Mr. Woods who donated the property and two of his friends kidnapped a bus full of school children and buried them and their bus driver alive to get $5 million in ransom. Luckily the children and driver escaped after 16 hours. The ransom was never paid and the three young men who did this (Fred Woods II, Jim and Richard Schoenfeld) have been in prison ever since. What a sad story, and what a good ending for Portola Valley and the rest of people who enjoy open space to have access to this beautiful land. I drive by this property every day and have often wondered what would happen to it once Mr. Woods passed away. He did a good thing with I'm sure a broken heart.

Posted by Steve Toben
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Nov 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

This is an extraordinary gift to all who cherish open space. It is remarkable to contemplate that these 79 acres will remain undeveloped in perpetuity, held in public trust for the benefit of natural communities and anyone who seeks refuge from the stresses of modern life. I am also impressed by the provision of a maintenance and stewardship endowment, which recognizes the dynamic nature of this landscape and the obligation to manage it for fire prevention, the removal of invasive species, and impacts caused by visitors down the road. In short, this is a profoundly far-sighted legacy for us all.

Posted by Gary Nielsen
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Another good thing happens to Portola Valley. The generosity of the Frederick Woods family gives the Town and the entire mid-peninsula another 79 acres of riperian creekside, forested hillsides, open meadows, and cultural features to be forever preserved. Although this gift appears to be a direct benefit to Portola Valley residents, we in town will want to share this open space, and gladly so, with all of our neighbors in the region when it becomes accessible.

Posted by Thank you to 'sad story', and to Mr. Woods
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Dear "sad story," I had no idea. Thank you for the beautiful writing. To goodness in us all............

Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2011 at 7:07 am

I am not impressed............everything but violins for b.g. of this selfish need for open space to view while driving to country clubs for 18 holes.There is enough open space.

Posted by Mark Wade
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Nov 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

I ran the place for the Woods for 20 years. Its a beautiful place, from the barn owls in the old barn and house to the steel head trout in the creek. Took many a great photo at this historical place. Keep it beautiful.

Posted by bob
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm

R gordon did you think you were in line to inherit this property? Why the bitterness?

Posted by Jay Jernick
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Bless you Frederick Woods and Family for this incredible green peaceful gateway to our town. This vista naturally draws sigh of relief and just a good old country feeling in my soul. It says, "Your home."

Posted by sad story
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yeah R Gordon, why so mad? Would it be better for someone to develop it and hardly anyone get to use it (talk about selfish)--this is for anyone in the world to use--not just a select few. I for one don't belong to a country club. But I for one would love to be able to walk in this beautiful space with anyone else who would also choose that. Selfish? Just the exact opposite.

Posted by chad
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

Open up a Black Tail buck season

Posted by Appreciative
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I am so thankful that our children and our children's children will have open space left when they are grown! They will know the joy of hiking through pristine "wildnerness" and viewing wildlife that abounds in this area. My children already appreciate the privilege of having a community that values preserving open space. Most of the families who live in this area sacrifice luxuries (like "18 holes"?) to live here. Many give their time and energy to preserve what we have. I am honored to be part of this appreciative community. Thank you to the Woods and the others that helped facilitate this gift.

Posted by Geoff Paulsen
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Hooray for Fred Woods. I grew up across the street from the Woods property, and my Grandmother refused her husband's desire to develop our ranch, which as a result became Foothills Park. I had a very pleasant visit with Fred a few years before he died, after which he drove me around his property, offering me various old cars that were in stages of quite serious decay. That mound of mossy leaves? "That's a '48 fastback Cadillac; last of the flathead V-8's! You want it?" (I politely declined.)

As a former planner for the MROSD, my hope is that the District provide plenty of parking (after all, Mr. Woods kept well over 100 cars there) and that it preserve the unique history of the place. It was in the Woods family since at least the 1890's.

Posted by Matt Stoecker
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 24, 2011 at 10:18 am

Many thanks to the Woods family and vision of Mr. Woods for leaving this beautiful piece of Portola Valley for the bobcats and deer that look out over the activity at PV's intersection. I always feared a couple new mansions being built there someday and really changing the feel of our central meeting place. I think it's a happy ending for the Woods legacy, not a sad one. Mr. Woods bought Studebaker trucks off of my grandpa in Palo Alto for years and was know to be a really nice man. His son's misguided actions in the kidnapping shouldn't take away from a happy story for Mr and Mrs. Woods. With gratitude.

Posted by SERF
a resident of another community
on Nov 25, 2011 at 8:16 am

I think the name of the area should be renamed WOODSTOWN or WOODS VALLEY....Portola Valley sounds kind of tacky.

Posted by Dave J.
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 4, 2012 at 8:07 am

I was a LT/VV resident-woods kid back then when the kidnapping happened. I applaud the property being donated for open space. As a former Portola Valley resident, my take is it only enhances the community for our next generation.

If Marc Wade himself views and reads this - please understand this gentleman is a respectful man, a community activist and and historian of LTW/VV and his posts reflect as man who knows and cares about his community.
You go Marc! Gotta find you again bro! Post your email address for former PV residents to contact you!

Posted by Mr. Patrony's Pony's neighbor
a resident of Corte Madera School
on Oct 20, 2014 at 2:26 am

I lived at 30 Kelly Ct. now Firethorn Way. I remember when Chowchilla happened there were a lot of helicopters buzzing about. My brother told me they were looking for the kidnappers and thought one of them might be hiding in the old red caboose on the hill next to the end of Kelly Ct. Of course I didn't believe him but found out later the property did belong to the parents of Fred Woods. I hope this gift will give people something better to remember the land and the family by.

Does anyone else remember the old red caboose?

Posted by J.Booth
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 1, 2015 at 9:38 pm

My mother worked for the Woods family. This started in the mid 60's. As kids we were always given permission to roam the property. I as I got older into my teens, I bought at least a half a dozen old cars from Fred Woods. And yes, he loved to drive around the property and show the old cars and try to sell them. I have many great memories of spending summer days exploring the property. Knowing Fred and his wife, and how gracious and down to earth they were, I totally see them donating the property. Rest in peace good people.

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