Message from the General Manager

Dear Friends,

We are only one month into 2024 and already there is much to celebrate!

Keep reading for the full February update from Andrea Mackenzie, the General Manager of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority! 

Conservation Partnership Protects Significant Diablo Range Lands

On Monday, January 22, The Conservation Fund, a national land conservation organization completed a momentous $16 million purchase of the 3,654-acre Richmond Ranch north of Máyyan ‘Ooyákma - Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Diablo Range of Santa Clara County, in partnership with the Valley Habitat Agency (VHA) and Santa Clara County Parks (SCCP). Conservationists have long sought protection of Richmond Ranch for its biological, scenic, agricultural and cultural values and we are thankful to The Conservation Fund for their significant assistance in securing the property.  


With this purchase, lands purchased by local conservation agencies along the Coyote Ridge has increased to almost 7,000 acres. The Open Space Authority looks forward to working with VHA and County Parks to continue to protect and restore this important landscape for wildlife and to make additional lands available to the public for future regional trails.   

Open Space Authority Board of Directors and Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) Selects New Leaders

During the January 22 CAC meeting, Justin Fields, an At Large Representative and President of the Santa Clara County Cattlemen’s Association was selected as Chairperson, and At Large Representative Steve Mink, a retired IBM employee and member of the Authority’s Trail Master’s Volunteer Program as Vice Chairperson.

CAC Board Restructure

The CAC facilitates a wide range of input to and from the diverse communities in each of the voting districts served by the Directors of the Open Space Authority. CAC members aim to represent a diverse range of interests and are appointed by the Board to serve two-year terms.

During the January 25 Board of Directors meeting, Helen Chapman, from District 3, was selected to return as Chairperson for another year, and Vicki Alexander from District 5, was selected to continue as Vice Chairperson.  

Naming a New Management Team

After 12 amazing years with the Open Space Authority, overseeing land protection, conservation planning and conservation grants, Assistant General Manager, Matt Freeman, has announced his retirement effective in June 2024. Matt leaves a significant conservation legacy of protecting thousands of acres of natural and working lands and principally authoring the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint and Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage. Please stay tuned for an upcoming Staff Spotlight featuring Matt and his many mission-driven contributions over the years. 


Moving forward, I have named former External Affairs Manager, Marc Landgraf to serve as Assistant General Manager. Marc will now be responsible for overseeing planning, design and construction of open space preserves, long range planning, conservation programs and strategic partnerships and public affairs. 

As part of the Authority’s ongoing succession planning, I have also advanced additional changes to best retain expertise and institutional knowledge within the Authority’s existing staff.

Org Restructure Staff Photo - Managers -1

During the January 25 Board of Directors meeting, Megan Dreger, Grants Program Manager was promoted to Conservation Programs and Strategic Partnerships Manager; Nick Perry, Coyote Valley Project Manager has been promoted to Long-Range Planning Manager / Coyote Valley Project Director; and Elizabeth Loretto, Human Resources Officer has been promoted to Administrative Operations Manager. Lucas Shellhammer also received an updated title to Planning, Design & Construction Manager.

Five Wounds Trail Project and Partnership Advances

The Open Space Authority’s Board of Directors has approved a resolution of support for the City of José acquisition of parcels for the Five Wounds Trail Corridor. With the passing of this resolution, the Open Space Authority had pledged $500,000 towards the construction of the northern segment of the Five Wounds Trail located east of downtown San José between Story Road and Lower Silver Creek. To support the City’s development of the Five Wounds Trail, the City, County, and the Open Space Authority each have pledged $500,000 towards the project, subject to approval by each respective governing body.

01-1 Trail Users
Photo: Terry Christensen, CommUniverCity

Once completed, the trail will be approximately 2-miles long and generally follows the former Western Pacific Railroad right-of-way, which is now owned by Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The trail is planned as a paved trail (Class 1) that is part of a regional trail system connecting local parks, schools, and neighborhoods to transit options and providing an alternative transportation corridor. In particular, the Five Wounds Trail would connect the Lower Silver Creek Trail and Three Creeks Trail and is a designated alignment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The 28th Street/Little Portugal BART station is situated along the trail corridor and will integrate the Five Wounds trail into its design. Securing and developing the Five Wounds Trail supports the Open Space Authority’s goals in the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint to “close gaps in the network of regional parks, open spaces and trails” through partnerships.

A sneak peek at 2024...

 2024 is soon to be a significant year for conservation and connecting people to nature. The Open Space Authority is looking forward to a busy and exciting year, including:

  • Spring - Máyyan ‘Ooyákma - Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve – Wildflower and the Bay checkerspot butterfly breeding season kicks off on Saturday, March 2. The Habitat Protection Area will only be available through (free) docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays, requiring advanced reservations. Learn more here.
  • Summer - Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve will open a brand-new bridge and accessible day use area adjoining Llagas Creek. This project will connect to the existing Llagas Creek Loop Trail, increasing the distance of trail and number of features which are designed to be accessible to all visitors. This project marks a significant step towards future access to an additional approximately 1,800 acres of the preserve and future regional trail connections with our partners, including Santa Clara County Parks and the Bay Area Ridge Trail.  Be sure to keep an eye out for updates in our monthly News & Events e-newsletter.
  • Summer & Fall - Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan (CVCAMP) will be asking for your participation in helping to shape the future conservation and restoration of Coyote Valley’s conserved lands through contests, workshops, events, and more! Make sure to sign up for updates here.
  • Fall – Keep an eye out for a special virtual panel all about wildlife crossings, and the importance of creating them in places like Coyote Valley to help wildlife move between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. 

And of course, we have free in-person and virtual events happening every month. We hope to see you at one of these upcoming events, or if you want to learn more ways to get involved with the Authority’s conservation mission, please check out our volunteer portal here.

Thank you for your continuing support of Santa Clara Valley’s natural and working lands.


Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager 
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority 


February 08, 2024
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer