Lone oak tree on brown hillside

History

2020
Overlooking the hills of Tilton Ranch to the North towards Coyote Valley
2020
Measure T passes with 81% of the vote, renewing Measure Q, and placing it among the top 10 conservation tax measures nationwide in the past 30 years.

Historic Tilton Ranch is protected with partners Peninsula Open Space Trust and Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency.

The Authority operates as a virtual government agency while keeping its open space preserves open as an essential service to the public to increase the resilience of people and communities. Welcoming nearly double its regular visitors and offering virtual nature programs that reached over 148,000 members of the public.
2019
View of North Coyote Valley Conservation Area during Spring
2019
Alongside partners Peninsula Open Space Trust and the City of San Jose, the Authority protects nearly 1,000 acres in North Coyote Valley, one of the most significant landscapes in Santa Clara Valley.

Coyote Valley Conservation Program (AB 948) establishes the 17,200-acre Coyote Valley Program Area as an important statewide resource.

Authority becomes the first agency in California to have an approved Regional Conservation Investment Strategy.

Two land acquisitions connect over 31,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, linking Rancho Cañada del Oro and Sierra Azul open space preserves.
2018
Panorama view of Coyote Valley's fields looking west towards foothills and Santa Cruz Mountains
2018
The Authority releases the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan in partnership with Santa Clara County, a strategy to support the local food and farming economy and mitigate for climate change.

The Authority celebrates its 25th Anniversary and 25,000 acres conserved.

The Authority participates in Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit with an international tour of Coyote Valley.
2017
Coyote walking up grassy slope with culvert in background
2017
The Authority becomes the first public agency in the nation to receive accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA).

The Authority releases the Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage report, highlighting the importance of Coyote Valley for wildlife connectivity.
2016
Three people gardening with red barn in background
2016

Santa Clara County Open Space Authority changes its name to Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority and gains ability to acquire land beyond its jurisdiction.

Researchers confirm Coyote Valley as a Critical Wildlife Movement Linkage, providing a path for wildlife to move between the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain range.

The Authority releases Understanding Our Community, a report identifying neighborhoods with significant barriers to open space access. The Authority prioritizes bringing nature experiences to these areas - primarily through its Urban Open Space and Environmental Education grant programs - in its efforts to serve all jurisdiction residents equally.

The inaugural Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program provides $1.55 million in grants to connect people to nature and provide access to open space in their own neighborhoods.

2015
Lush green fields and hills of Coyote Valley under an overcast sky
2015
Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve opens to the public.

Open Space Authority acquires the 1,859-acre Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve through an extraordinary private and public partnership.
2014
Two benches facing green hills and view of San Jose below in the distance
2014

The Agency unveils the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint, a 30-year conservation vision for Santa Clara County.

Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies Initiative, “Nature’s Value in Santa Clara County” study values the “natural capital” of the Santa Clara Valley at over $160 billion.

A new parking lot opens with panoramic views of the valley at the top of Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.

Measure Q passes with overwhelming support (68%) from voters. A $120 million parcel tax to fund protection of wildlife, water, working lands and other open space, increase public access, and create new urban open spaces and environmental education programs.

2011
Dirt trail leading through green hills to view of San Jose in the distance below
2011
Six miles of new trail opens at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. The Open Space Authority now has ten miles of trails that connect to the Bay Area Ridge Trail.
2010
Green hills and field under blue sky with white clouds
2010
The Authority purchases the 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.
2005
Trees and brown grass next to parking lot with hillsides in background
2005
The Authority opens a new staging area at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. This space includes direct access to trails, paved parking, an equestrian area, and a vault toilet.
2004
Wide open meadow surrounded by trees and a dirt trail
2004
First preserve, the 5,268-acre Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, opens to the public.
2002
Open field of golden grass
2002
First conservation easement under Authority management: Silacci easement.
2001
Hiking trail in hills above San Jose
2001
First trail, the Boccardo Trail, opens to the public at the 1,611-acre Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.
2000
Dirt trail at top of shrub-covered slope, with trees and hillsides below and in the distance
2000
The Authority acquires Sierra Vista and Rancho Cañada del Oro open space preserves in partnership with Peninsula Open Space Trust.
1999
Small pond under large oak tree in green meadow with hillside in background
1999
The Authority partners with The Nature Conservancy to purchase its first property, the 3,524-acre Palassou Ridge.

First funding grants under the “20% Funding for Urban Open Spaces” program go to the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara.
1995
Forest with sun shining through trees
1995
First scenic easement gift by Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District: LaPoint.
1994
Group of agency founders with Open Space Authority staff smiling at camera
1994
Voters from the Authority’s seven districts elect members to the first Open Space Authority Board of Directors: Johne Baird, Janis Fraser-Juarez, Bob McGuire, Jerry Estruth, Pete Carrillo, Garnetta Annable, and Richard Forst. The Board holds their first official meeting on June 27.

First funding measure, a $12 per parcel Benefit Assessment, passes with 57% of the vote.
 
1993
Two Open Space Authority founders talking together at kitchen table
1993
The Interim Open Space Authority Governing Board is formed to set the stage for potential future funding. Its members include County Supervisor Mike Honda, Trixie Johnson, Margie Fernandes, Judy Nadler, Robert Livengood, John Ashworth, Dianne McKenna, Judy Stabile, Shirly Lewis, Elwood Johnson, and Vern Deto. The County of Santa Clara officially joins the Authority along with the Cities of San Jose, Campbell, Santa Clara, Milpitas, and Morgan Hill.
1992
Small tree and rocks at top of ridge overlooking fields and Coyote Valley below
1992
Governor Pete Wilson signs Senate Bill 2027 to create the Open Space Authority. The bill does not include a funding mechanism.
1987
Grassy field with sun rising over distant mountains
1987
San Jose/Santa Clara County Joint Open Space Implementation Committee forms to implement the Preservation 2020 Task Force recommendations.
1985-87
Dirt trail winding through green and brown hills with San Jose in the distance below
1985-87
Two local government task forces are created in response to citizen advocacy: the San Jose Hillside and Greenbelt Task Force, and the Santa Clara County Preservation 2020 Task Force. Both release reports recommending the formation and funding of a new open space district to acquire open space beyond the jurisdiction of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
1972
Grass-covered cliffs along the coast
1972
Founding of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, providing public support for open space protection and land conservation in the San Francisco Bay Area.