Open Space During COVID-19

Nature and open space are here for you.

During this time of global uncertainty caused by COVID-19, outdoor open spaces offer a refuge for reducing stress, anxiety, and anger while improving mental and physical wellness.

Due to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s shelter in place order, the Open Space Authority will be closing its office, administrative staff are working from home, and all docent-led and volunteer stewardship events are canceled through April 30, 2020. This is to ensure the health and safety of you and our staff during this time.

However, we strongly believe that connecting people to nature and outdoor open spaces is more important than ever. 

We know that exercising outdoors and simply being in nature works to improve an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being by reducing stress and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that spending time in nature can lower the risk of serious and often stress-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. Just a 30-minute walk can reduce depression symptoms, improve memory performance, and lengthen attention spans.

So during this time when you may be experiencing anxiety, stress, or uncertainty, we encourage you to come out and discover what nature has to offer you. Our open space preserves, Sierra Vista, Rancho Cañada del Oro and Coyote Valley, will remain open for the public to enjoy in a safe and healthy manner.

If you are looking for something to do while you are visiting our preserves, take a look at these awesome guides on how to enjoy nature in various ways:

CROP Sierra Vista - Trails - DN - 4-1-2016 - 14-1

While you are visiting the preserves, we ask that you please observe the following rules and conditions:

  • If you are feeling sick, we kindly ask that you stay home for your own health and the health of our other preserve visitors.
  • Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails: wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • When visiting the preserves, please practice social distancing of at least six feet between each other and Authority staff. Practice this and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
  • Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance, and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell, or horn.
  • Social distancing includes avoiding gathering in preserve parking lots and at vista overlooks. Open Space Technicians will be patrolling preserves to encourage visitors to spread out on the trails.
  • Preserve restrooms are closed until further notice.
  • Printed maps will not be available at the preserves. Please download a map from our website before you go or take a picture of the map at the kiosk before going on the trails.
  • Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, and take everything out to protect preserve staff.
  • The equestrian parking lot at Coyote Valley will be closed to equestrian parking and open to regular vehicle parking, weather permitting. Equestrians should visit Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve for horseback riding.
  • Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve will be closing at 5:00 p.m. daily.

We appreciate your understanding and will continue to provide you with any changes or updates. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Stay safe and healthy!

March 20, 2020
For media inquiries contact:

Alisha Maniglia

Communications Specialist