With the Open Space Authority’s recent Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage report, the valley has been top of mind for many conservation organizations. Bringing us a step closer to realizing the report's vision, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) has purchased the Ramke property near Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Each open space acquisition serves as a stepping stone for conservation in implementing the Linkage vision. The property will be transferred to the Authority to become part of the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.
The 63-acre property is located within the Fisher Creek floodplain, an important element of the critical connection between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range defined in the linkage report. The report concludes that protecting and restoring priority areas within Coyote Valley are essential to the long-term resilience and biodiversity of the region. The Ramke property purchase provides an opportunity to expand riparian habitat and to restore rare wet meadows, which could provide habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species such as the California tiger salamander.
POST purchased the property from the Ramke family, who owned the property for over six decades, where they grew tomatoes, beans, bell peppers, and most recently alfalfa, wheat, and oats. “Looking at today’s mindset of getting a lot and not having to work too hard to get it – that was not my family’s approach,” said Samantha Roffe, granddaughter of the Ramkes. “Every day they got up, worked hard, and accomplished things. They took care of their family and their land and that was the most important thing in life.”
The Authority’s Santa Clara Valley Greenprint identifies working lands as essential to providing the Santa Clara Valley with green infrastructure including clean air, water quality and supply, climate stability, and wildlife habitat. The Ramke property illustrates how working lands have long been contributing to both our farming economy and to the environmental sustainability of our region. That is why the Authority is partnering with Santa Clara County on an agricultural action plan, for the southern Santa Clara Valley. The plan is a regional land use and economic development strategy that supports the local food and farming economy and furthers climate change mitigation and resiliency by preventing conversion of farmland to development.
Protection of this property also honors the legacy of Henry and Martha Ramke who purchased the land in 1955 and devoted themselves to caring for it. The Ramke heirs have fond memories of spending quality family time together at the ranch and playing in the irrigation ditches when it was an active orchard. “My grandmother was a great cook and took care of all the workers,” said Samantha. “And my grandfather was this big sturdy guy who worked hard but then he always made time to nurture our family.”
The family was pleased to be working with POST and the Open Space Authority for the land's perpetual protection as open space. “We are incredibly happy to see the property being kept in conservation and not developed,” said Samantha. “This is not just a piece of land to us, its where we grew up and it was life for my family, so it is special to us. We want it to be special for future generations to enjoy as open space, too.”