Celebration includes fall opening of Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

Two hikers enjoy a stroll through the Coyote Open Space Preserve in the greenbelt between San Jose and Morgan Hill. The land is managed by the Open Space Authority.
Photo courtesy Open Space Authority

By Staff Report

Three decades of commitment to preserving nature and connecting communities will be celebrated by the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority in 2023.

Established in 1993 as an independent special district, the agency has dedicated itself to protecting the region’s natural and agricultural lands. With a jurisdiction encompassing 1,000 square miles, including the cities of Campbell, Milpitas, San José, Santa Clara, Morgan Hill, and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, the OSA has worked to ensure the conservation of these vital spaces.

“Celebrating our 30th Anniversary allows us to raise public awareness of the value of nature here in Silicon Valley and the many essential benefits that investing in open space delivers to our urban communities,” said Andrea Mackenzie, the OSA’s general manager.

In the fall, as part of the celebration, the authority looks forward to the opening of its newest preserve — Máyyan ‘Ooyákma (My-yahn Oiy-yahk-mah) — Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. This is the agency’s first preserve to include an indigenous language in the name. It is a direct Chochenyo translation for “Coyote Ridge.”

Photo courtesy Open Space Authority

In partnership with the Muwekma Ohlone tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, visitors will have access to bilingual interpretive materials that honor and celebrate the indigenous stewards of these lands in the past and present, as well as into the future. The preserve’s hours and operations will vary, based on the needs of the rare and sensitive plants and animals, including the threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly, tule elk, and a plethora of native and endemic wildflowers found only at this location.

The region’s health and sustainability face continuous pressure from population growth, development, and climate change, Mackenzie said. By safeguarding clean air and water, wildlife habitats, agricultural resources, climate resilience, and opportunities for outdoor experiences, the OSA continues to make a lasting impact on the region.

The theme of the 30th anniversary year is “Protecting Nature Together, Forever.” As part of the anniversary celebrations, the agency will be organizing educational programs, volunteer events, and engaging social media contests, inviting everyone to join in and become part of the region’s remarkable open spaces.

Photo courtesy Open Space Authority

Since its founding, the OSA has worked with local, state, and federal partners to protect and manage almost 30,000 acres of natural and working lands. The agency also provides access to nature through educational programs and events, and public access to a system of open space preserves, open to the public free of charge.

Visitors can enjoy hiking, bike riding, horseback riding, and nature viewing at Coyote Valley, Rancho Cañada del Oro, and Sierra Vista Open Space Preserves year-round. In urban areas, the nonprofit helps provide equitable access to the outdoors through an urban grant program that provides funding for neighborhood parks, trails, community gardens, and environmental education programs.

“Protecting open space is one of the smartest investments we can make today in a habitable planet for current and future generations,” Mackenzie said. “Nature is the gift that keeps on giving, providing us with clean air and water, habitat for wildlife, resilience to a changing climate, local farms and food, and places for people to get outside and experience the beauty of nature.”

The three-decade anniversary provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the significance of investing in open space and the numerous benefits it offers to Silicon Valley’s urban communities. As the region faces ongoing challenges from population growth, development, and climate change, the preservation of open space becomes increasingly crucial for a sustainable future.

Throughout 2023, the agency is hosting virtual and in-person educational programming, volunteer land stewardship events, and fun social media contests year-round, said Helen Chapman, chair of the OSA’s Board of Directors.

“We hope everyone will come and join us,” she said. “Whether it be online, out on the trail, or at local community events, we want everyone to know they are welcome and to feel like they belong in their open spaces.”

This story was written from a press release provide by the Open Space Authority.

Photo courtesy Open Space Authority