The Open Space Authority manages and maintains a network of over 22,000 acres of open space lands. These open spaces provide opportunities to protect and restore important habitats and natural resources balanced with public access. Through a new guided tour program, the Authority will provide the public a chance to learn more about the lands that are on their way to becoming open space preserves. These tours will allow the public guided access while we determine the best longer-term access plan for each preserve.
In addition to providing these tours, the Authority’s Board recently approved the 2018-2019 workplan that highlights projects for increased public access on the preserves. We’re excited to announce a few of the public access projects that we will focus on this year:
Coyote Ridge: Planning and design for phase 1 of public access improvements, including the initial construction of an accessible parking lot and interpretive trail at the Malech Road entrance, providing unparallel views of the city and Coyote Valley. The next phase of public access from this point will provide a trail connection to higher elevation points where a portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail will be built. This new access point will allow the public to travel within open spaces all across the Bay Area, including our own Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve, Santa Clara County Parks, and eventually down to Henry W. Coe State Park.
Rancho Cañada del Oro: Planning and engineering for a pedestrian bridge over Llagas Creek, near the current parking lot, allowing visitors to traverse an old ranch road and reach the southern portion of the preserve known as the Blair Ranch. This bridge will provide new public access to over at least 5 miles of ranch road, including sweeping views of oak-studded rolling hills and a chance for longer distance hiking into areas of the preserve previously not open.
Coyote Valley: Creating enhanced public access with the addition of an accessible trail and interpretive station in the north meadow area to highlight adjacent habitat and restoration projects. This trail will connect from the parking lot and allow for educational panels where the public can learn about the existing habitat enhancements including hydrological restoration of Fisher Creek and an experimental landscape treatment to provide a home for nesting Western Burrowing Owl pairs, a species that is threatened in the region.
Feasibility Studies: The Authority will also be undertaking projects to look at opportunities for providing public access in the form of day use at Palassou Ridge, a hiking trail on Santa Teresa Ridge, and continued planning for access to El Toro Ridge in Morgan Hill.
Some of these projects will start to open as early as 2020, so be on the lookout for more information and an opportunity to review plans and designs along the way. For more information, contact Donna Plunkett, Planning Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.