Green fields covered in rocks and yellow wildflowers leading up to rolling green hills under a clear blue sky

Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

Planning and Design Underway for Preserve Opening

The Authority has kicked off the planning and design process for expanded public access to our Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. This will offer the chance for visitors to catch a rare glimpse of a largely undisturbed serpentine grassland setting. The Authority has protected over 1,800 acres at Coyote Ridge with funding from several conservation partners and co-manages the preserve with the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency in order to protect habitat for rare plants and animals in Santa Clara County. The preserve, located just 10 miles from downtown San Jose, offers rare opportunities for guided recreational access and environmental education that will allow visitors to experience, enjoy, and learn about this unique landscape.

Once the project is complete, public access at the preserve will include a parking and gathering area accessible by Malech Road, a sustainable trail network, and a staging area with restrooms, trailhead, and interpretive features and signage. Visitors will be able to climb nearly 1,400 feet in elevation through grasslands up to the ridgeline for sweeping views of Santa Clara Valley and spring wildflower displays. Access to the ridgeline will complete a nearly 3-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The goals of this project are to protect rare habitat and sensitive species while providing a high-quality experience through our Open Access Weekend events and docent-led programs. A partnership with the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council will also provide additional guided access to the preserve.

This project is funded by the Authority's Measure Q, a generous $400,000 grant from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, and a $400,000 grant from the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) Grant Program.

PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE UNDER CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires public agencies to consider the environmental consequences of their discretionary actions. CEQA is intended to inform government decisionmakers and the public about the potential environmental effects of proposed activities and to prevent significant, avoidable environmental damage. Please see the State of California Office of Planning and Research website for more information and resources about CEQA. The Authority has now completed the CEQA documents for this project (see below for public comment details).

Over 1,800 acres of Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve are enrolled in the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency’s Reserve System. The Reserve System was created under the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Communities Conservation Plan (Habitat Plan) to protect critical habitat in our region. The CEQA analysis for the public access improvements on the portion of the preserve enrolled in the Reserve System is evaluated (tiered) under the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was developed for the Habitat Plan in 2012. Since the proposed actions on the preserve were identified in the Habitat Plan EIR, the Authority drafted an EIR Addendum/Checklist for the portion of the project that is on enrolled lands, using the Habitat Plan EIR as a basis to analyze project impacts. The proposed project improvements located on the Malech Road site are on a portion of the preserve not enrolled in the Reserve System. For this, the Authority drafted an Initial Study and pursuant to the analysis therein, is recommending a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND)to our Board of Directors for their approval, following the completion of the public comment process.

Please find CEQA documentation for the preserve proposed project improvements in the Project Documents section below.

a wild nature experience in your urban backyard

public access Vision:

  • Protect rare Santa Clara Valley ridgetop views and serpentine habitat
  • Provide public access with expanded guided trail opportunities
  • Expand Bay Area Ridge Trail network in the South Bay Region for public enjoyment
  • Create a central parking and gathering area for educational and interpretive opportunities
  • Provide unique public wildflower viewing experiences

SEEKING PUBLIC FEEDBACK:

The Authority is seeking feedback on the CEQA Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the Malech Road Public Access Improvement Project at Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. The 30-day review period for the Malech Road Public Access Improvement Project Draft IS/MND will end January 14, 2022.

Please submit any comments (include “Malech Road IS Comment” in the subject line) to:
Lucas Shellhammer, Senior Open Space Planner via
email at lshellhammer@openspaceauthority.org

or via USPS mail to:
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
Attn: Lucas Shellhammer
33 Las Colinas Lane
San José, CA 95119


Under CEQA, there is no formal public comment period required for the portion of the project analyzed by the Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve Addendum/Checklist. However, the Draft Addendum/Checklist document is available for reference to share the environmental analysis done for the Habitat Agency enrolled lands. Please see both draft CEQA documents linked in the Project Documents section to the right.

Project Documents

Use & Management Committee Meeting Materials - October 26, 2017

Use & Management Committee Meeting Materials - November 14, 2019

CAC Meeting Materials - July 27, 2020

Board Meeting Materials - August 27, 2020

Use & Management Committee Meeting Materials - February 25, 2021

CEQA Documents

In addition to the links above, hard copies of the project CEQA documents will be available at the Authority offices starting December 14, 2021 at: 
33 Los Colinas Lane 
San Jose, CA 95119 

These can be viewed during office open hours 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

GET INVOLVED

Sign up for our event calendar to learn about docent-led activities and open access days or volunteer for stewardship activities.

Line of hikers walking down a strep trail on Coyote Ridge with view of Coyote Valley below and Santa Cruz Mountains in distance
Hillside covered in green grass, yellow wildflowers, and scattered rocks
Hikers on top of Coyote Ridge with views of green Coyote Valley below and Santa Cruz Mountains in distance

Project Updates

The Authority wants your feedback! If you have feedback on this project, please email Jennifer Hooper, Assistant Open Space Planner.

Join our mailing list if you would like to receive project updates with opportunities for providing feedback on the public access plan and designs at Coyote Ridge.



 

Timeline

Summer/Fall 2019

  • Project Planning and Design
  • Use & Management Committee Meeting - November 14, 2019
  • Develop Project Design Alternatives

summer/fall 2020

  • Preferred Alternative/Design Development
  • Citizens' Adivsory Committee Meeting - July 27, 2020
  • Board of Directors Meeting - August 27, 2020
  • Initiate Environmental Review

winter/spring 2021

  • Use & Management Committee Meeting – February 25, 2021 
  • Develop Project Permit Applications
  • Prepare Design Construction Documents

Summer/fall 2021

  • Final CEQA Documentation
  • Update to Board of Directors 

WINTER/SPRING 2021-2022

  • Secure Permits
  • Construction Bid Documents and Contract Award

spring/summer 2022

  • Begin Construction

Preserve Opening FALL 2023

Field of purple wildflowers and California golden poppies under blue sky with white clouds and blue mountains in distance
Rolling green hills with oak trees at bottom of small canyon
Two tule elk bulls with large antlers standing on brown and green hillside