Open spaces in and around Arcata represent a significant and desirable component of the community. They offer scenic views and contribute to the town's rural character, aesthetic appeal, and high quality of life. Arcata's waterways, parks, agricultural lands, community forest, and wildlife sanctuary enrich our daily lives and help establish a strong community identity and sense of place.
Open spaces also provide a number of more practical functions. They protect water quality and wildlife habitat, act as buffers and linkages, and allow for the preservation of important historic and cultural sites. They provide opportunities for recreation, education, scientific research, and locally produced food. Open space protection is therefore one of the most rewarding commitments a community can make to future generations, and is a required element in the General Plan of every California city and county. The City Council must approve all open space acquisitions. This action includes a public process whereby disclosures regarding purchase price, management costs, management intent and purpose and need are made.
Arcata’s Open Space Protection Program serves as a mechanism for implementing the policies of the General Plan. It integrates the goals of the Resource Conservation and Land Use Elements and other City plans that relate to the designation, maintenance, enhancement, and increasing the amount of permanently protected open space in and around Arcata. While the General Plan provides for open space protection through land use and zoning policies, the Open Space Protection Program primarily guides the City and it's citizens in protecting and maintaining open spaces via purchase of land or easements that will enrich the lives of Arcata's residents in harmony with the needs and goals of the Community.