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December 2021

Holiday Card 2021 -1

As another year of the unexpected ends, we just want to say - hang in there! Nature provides countless benefits for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. May you find solace, resilience, and connection at your open spaces as we move forward into a new year.

Winter Wildlife: Burrowing Owls

\Burrowing owl in green grass

What lives underground and hisses to fend off predators? If you were thinking of a snake, then the burrowing owl succeeded in its goal (and our picture above must not have loaded...)! Sharing semi-arid climates with squirrels, rattlesnakes, and more has led this unique bird to develop some interesting adaptations, including that particular defense mechanism.

Click below to learn more about these fascinating creatures.

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Social Trails

Social Trail - SVIS - A-Campusano-1

Virtually every preserve, reserve, or open space with a trail network open to the public will likely experience the phenomenon known as social trails. A social trail is an unauthorized trail that usually cuts a sharp turn or goes to a part of the preserve that is closed. While it’s often difficult to resist the allure of a shortcut or a trip off the beaten path, social trails can be dangerous to the user and harmful to the environments they cut through.

We thank you for staying on the trail during all your outdoor adventures. Click below to learn why.

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Local Land Use Decisions Paving the Way for Bold Climate Actions

Coyote Valley - 2021-04 - 3

On November 16, the San José City Council made a historic decision to change the General Plan land use designation in North Coyote Valley from industrial to open space and agriculture and removed the Urban Reserve designation from Mid Coyote Valley.

Click below to learn what this means for the future of open space in Coyote Valley.

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Wet Weather Outdoor Tips


Rain brings new growth, running streams, creeks, and cool critters like salamanders, but it also can make for muddy and slippery trails.

Click below for some wet weather and winter outdoor tips to help you have safe and enjoyable experiences in nature all season long.

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Who Am I?

CRID - Tule Elk - D-Mauk - 2021-01-13 -1

I am the Santa Clara Valley's largest native land animal! Herds of my species roam the Diablo Range that borders our county to the east, including the hills of Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. Depending on the time of year, these herds can consist of 20 to 200 individuals! Who am I?

Best Paved Trails in Santa Clara County

RCAN - Llagas Creek Loop - Mark Hehir - 2020-05-21

Did you know December 3 is International Day of People with Disabilities? For us, this serves as an important reminder that nature should be accessible to ALL. Check out some of our favorite paved, wheelchair, walker, and stroller-accessible trails in Authority-funded parks and open spaces across the Santa Clara Valley. 

Best Paved Trails

All About Owls

Barn Owl - Gary Gray

Saturday, December 18
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Zoom Presentation

WhoOo has awesome animal superpowers that help them adapt to life after dark? Owls do! Join Authority staff, volunteers, and guest docents for this fun and engaging webinar all about the amazing adaptations and behavior of owls.


Looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity?
Join a Committee!

SVIS - Ground Squirrels - D-Mauk - 2020-06-30 - 2-1

Are you interested in facilitating community input to and from the Open Space Authority? The Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) serves to provide communications to the Board from the public, aid in fostering a positive public image of the Authority, and help educate the public about the Authority’s goals and accomplishments.

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If you love nature and numbers, the Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee is the perfect volunteer role for you! This committee provides public oversight for all funds collected and allocated by Measure Q.

Learn More

Who Am I? - Answer

CRID - Tule Elk - D.Mauk - 2021-01-13 -4

Move over, reindeer - this holiday season is all about TULE ELK. Tule elk are one of three species of elk that live in California, and they are the only species of elk endemic to (found only in) our state. The smallest of all North American elk, adult tule elk bulls weigh “only” between 500 - 700lbs on average.

Photo Credits

Raccoons - Getty Images
Burrowing Owl - David Mauk

Social Trail - Andres Campusano 
Coyote Valley Landscape - Derek Neumann
Cloudy Coyote Valley - Derek Neumann
Tule Elk - David Mauk
Llagas Creek Trail - Mark Hehir
Barn Owl - Gary Gray
Ground Squirrels - David Mauk

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |