Group of ten hikers walking across a green, wildflower-covered hill under an expansive blue sky

About Us

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority conserves the natural environment, supports agriculture, and connects people to nature, by protecting open spaces, natural areas, and working farms and ranches for future generations.

The Authority envisions the Santa Clara Valley and its surrounding hillsides as a beautiful place where a vibrant network of interconnected open spaces, trails, wildlife habitats, and thriving agricultural lands enrich the region’s cities and make it an exceptional and healthy place to live, work, learn, and play.

Who we are

The Open Space Authority works to protect the quality of life in Santa Clara County by preserving open space and natural resources. Since 1993, the Authority has protected over 28,000 acres of open space, natural areas, watersheds, and wildlife habitat – providing ecologically friendly outdoor recreation and preserving the natural beauty and environmental health of the Santa Clara Valley.
The Open Space Authority is a public, independent special district created by the California state legislature in 1993 at the urging of community leaders who saw the importance of maintaining the ecological integrity of the region.
The Authority’s jurisdiction includes the cities of Campbell, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Santa Clara and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. The Authority is funded through a $24 a year parcel tax (referred to as Measure T), a benefit assessment (referred to as District 1), and various grants and gifts.
The Authority is governed by an elected board of directors with a Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) that serves as a community liaison.

Why Conservation Matters

Young child with pail walking away from camera through green crop rows
  • Сonserving farms, ranches, and working landscapes helps sustain the economic and environmental viability of agriculture in Santa Clara County.

Trail at Sierra Vista with hikers rounding corner in distance

Preserving open space and agricultural lands helps to protect the Valley's culture and native heritage.

Pond in green meadow at bottom of hillside
  • Protecting and restoring water resources benefits local communities and the environment. 

Children playing on rocks at Martial Cottle Park

Providing access to nature for all residents through neighborhood parks, trails, and urban community gardens.

Three tule elk bulls on grassy hillside

Protecting wildlands and managing natural areas helps support native habitats and species and ensures resilience to a changing environment.