The Open Space Authority began in 1993 with a grassroots effort by citizen activists wanting to protect Santa Clara Valley’s important natural resources. We started as a small agency with an important role to play and have since grown into a diverse organization with greater capacity to make progress on our mission of conserving the natural environment, supporting agriculture, and connecting people to nature. Measure Q has provided further opportunity to fulfill our mission by enabling us to expand public access to nature in and around our urban communities, increase our environmental education programming, and help us maintain our open space preserves for public enjoyment.
In this 25th Anniversary Year, we want to celebrate the natural and working lands around us, and just as importantly, celebrate our constituents, who have been so supportive of our work all along the way. We invite you to take every opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature. Join us all year long with fun events and catch up on our past accomplishments in our monthly newsletter.
The accomplishments we've achieved together over the past 25 years are too numerous to mention, but just to list a few of our favorites...
- Over 22,000 acres of land protected and 3 open space preserves available to the public year-round for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding
- Permanent protection of habitat for 25 rare and endangered species of wildlife and plants
- Providing over $10,000,000 to more than 30 Urban Open Space Projects throughout our jurisdiction, including awarding the first Measure Q grant to Bill’s Backyard: Bridge to Nature at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose
- 208 different types of free environmental education programs to more than 20,000 of members of the public in our preserves and urban parklands
- 700 currently active volunteers that participate in trail work, leading programs, and community outreach
Of course, a great deal of planning has gone into these accomplishments. The Open Space Authority prides itself on working closely with a variety of partners on developing foundational research and planning tools that guide our projects, and also inform the work of our communities. These foundational tools include the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint
, Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies
, Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report
, Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan
, and Understanding Our Community
To learn more about the Authority's progress and accomplishments over the past 25 years, please visit our History Timeline
. Also check our news page
regularly for further highlights of the work we and our partners are doing to protect our local natural and agricultural heritage, and how it impacts everyone's lives.
25th Anniversary Events
We will be hosting special events all year long, so please check back regularly for upcoming event details!
Bonkers for birds - June 16, 2018
Have you ever been serenaded by the western meadow lark or red-winged black bird? Did you know that Santa Clara's Ulistac Natural Area is a birding hot spot? From bullock oriels, red-tailed hawks, pelicans high overhead, to many other migratory birds, this is the place to be! Join us to learn how to identify birds by their characteristics and song. We have spotting scopes and binoculars for you to use! Everyone is welcome!
Exploring Open Space: Behind the Scenes Series
Join us on a behind the scenes tour series of our properties! This is a chance to discover and explore these properties with knowledgeable staff that will talk about the plants and wildlife found on these properties as well as the importance of working lands. This series of hikes will be anywhere from 4-6 mies long and range from easy to moderate.
The Secret Life of Western Pond Turtles
Sunday, June 3 | 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Have you ever wanted to see an endangered animal? Here's your chance! Join us for this 3-4 mile hike into the backcountry at Rancho Cañada del Oro as we go in search of the elusive Western pond turtle.
Explore the Diablo Foothills
Sunday, June 10
Come explore Diablo Foothills Open Space Preserve, located east of Gilroy on this 4-mile hike. This preserve has a half-acre pond and several creeks that are part of the primary watershed for the Pajaro River.
Explore North Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve
Sunday, June 24
Join us at our newest property, North Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve for a look at a soon to be active agriculture land. The property runs along the Pajaro River, which is a critical wildlife corridor connecting the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountains.
Perseids Meteor Shower - August 11, 2018
Join us for a spectacular show in nature, meteors! The Perseid’s Meteor Shower will be happening again this year, so bring a picnic dinner and blanket to lie down on and watch the night sky light up!
More details and registration will be available soon!