The Open Space Authority is kicking off its 25th Anniversary Year in 2018! The Authority began in 1993 as a grassroots effort by citizen activists wanting to protect Santa Clara Valley’s important natural resources. We started as a small agency with an important role to play and have since grown into a diverse organization with greater capacity to make progress on our mission of conserving the natural environment, supporting agriculture, and connecting people to nature. Measure Q has provided further opportunity to fulfill our mission by enabling us to expand public access to nature in and around our urban communities, increase our environmental education programming, and help us maintain our open space preserves for public enjoyment.
The accomplishments we've achieved together over the past 25 years are too numerous to mention to list all at once, but here are a few of our favorites...
- Over 22,000 acres of land protected and 3 open space preserves available to the public year-round for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding
- Permanent protection of habitat for 25 rare and endangered species of wildlife and plants
- Providing over $10,000,000 to more than 30 Urban Open Space Projects throughout our jurisdiction, including awarding the first Measure Q grant to Bill’s Backyard: Bridge to Nature at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose
- 208 different types of free environmental education programs to more than 20,000 members of the public in our preserves and urban parklands
- 700 currently active volunteers that participate in trail work, leading programs, and community outreach
Of course, a great deal of planning has gone into these accomplishments. The Open Space Authority prides itself on working closely with a variety of partners on developing foundational research and planning tools that guide our projects, and also inform the work of our communities. These foundational tools include the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint, Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies, Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report, Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan, and Understanding Our Community.
To learn more about the Authority's progress and accomplishments over the past 25 years, please visit our History Timeline. Also check our news page regularly for further highlights of the work we and our partners are doing to protect our local natural and agricultural heritage, and how it impacts everyone's lives.
In this 25th Anniversary Year, we want to celebrate the natural and working lands around us, and just as importantly, celebrate our constituents, who have been so supportive of our work all along the way. We invite you to take every opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature by joining us all year long with fun events throughout Santa Clara Valley. Be sure to check our website for upcoming events.
The Authority will also be featuring monthly “25 Years: Looking Back” articles, where you can catch up on our past accomplishments. In Januarys past, we accomplished the following:
- In 2007, Open Space Authority purchased Diablo Foothills Open Space Preserve, an 819-acre preserve, crossed by several creeks that are part of the primary watershed for the Pajaro River, which flows to the Monterey Bay. Protecting these waterways helps protect the Bay and provides important habitat for native plant and wildlife species.
- In 2014, the Open Space Authority launched an ongoing partnership with Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE), an organization that does research and policy planning work to support local farming and urban edge agriculture. Our two organizations have worked on a number of projects over the last few years for our shared goals of protect the last remaining agricultural land and crucial natural attributes of the Coyote Valley. Recent collaborations include the San Jose Food Works report and meetings to bring together local agricultural industry stakeholders to plan for and discuss strategies for sustainability.
- In 2016, the Open Space Authority hosted the very first Akoma Arts drumming class. This event has inspired other initiatives, such as Healthy Parks Healthy People, to share diverse music and movement traditions while giving the community a chance to get outside and promote physical, mental, and emotional health.
Sign up to receive our newsletter and get more history and hear about fun upcoming events each month!