For people in Northern California, Foothills Park may be the perfect getaway spot. The pristine area has a lake and trails spread across 1,400 acres, nearly twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, and it’s a short drive from the sprawling headquarters of companies such as Apple and Google.
But its most striking feature may be what it takes to get in: proof you live in Palo Alto, a city where houses tend to run about $3 million and a two-bedroom apartment rents for $3,700 on average.
Foothills Park is a city-owned park that homeowners have fought for decades to keep closed to outsiders. A sign out front reads “residents and accompanied guests only,” and rangers check IDs at the park’s entrance, turning away about 3,100 vehicles a year that don’t qualify. Breaking the rule is a misdemeanor, although the city said it hasn’t charged anyone for the crime in at least 20 years.