San Mateo County
San Mateo County
San Mateo County is bordered on the northern end by San Francisco International Airport and Silicon Valley at the southern end. The county’s built-up areas are mostly suburban with some areas being very urban, and are home to several corporate campuses.
San Mateo county bears the Spanish name for Saint Matthew. As a place name, San Mateo appears as early as 1776 and several local geographic features were also designated San Mateo on early maps including variously: a settlement, an arroyo, a headland jutting into the Pacific (Point Montara), and a large land holding (Rancho San Mateo). Until about 1850, the name appeared as San Matheo.
San Mateo County straddles the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Santa Cruz Mountains running its entire length. The county encompasses a variety of habitats including estuarine, marine, oak woodland, redwood forest, coastal scrub and oak savannah. There are numerous species of wildlife present, especially along the San Francisco Bay estuarine shoreline, San Bruno Mountain, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and the forests on the Montara Mountain block.
Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area and Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area are two adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of San Mateo County. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
The county is home to several endangered species including the San Francisco garter snake and the San Bruno elfin butterfly, both of which are endemic to San Mateo County. In May 2014, a California condor was spotted near Pescadero, a coastal community south of San Francisco —it was the first California condor spotted in San Mateo County since 1904. The Condor, tagged with the number “597,” and also known as “Lupine”, is one of 439 condors living in the wild or captivity in California, Baja California and Arizona.