Field of yellow wildflowers and large lichen-covered rocks under a blue and white streaked sky

Land Protection

The Open Space Authority has conserved over 28,000 acres of open space for its natural resources such as habitat, water, recreation, and agriculture. To implement the land protection goals in the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint, we work with willing landowners to permanently protect open space. The Authority can purchase a property outright, accept donations of land, or place a conservation easement on a property, which allows the landowner to retain ownership and enjoyment of the land while limiting development on it forever. Our staff takes pride in working collaboratively with landowners to protect our open spaces. Learn more about our land conservation process.

Open Space Preserves

View from green hills of San Jose's city lights below, under a twilight sky
1,611 acres
Protected March 2000

The first preserve we opened comprises of majestic oak woodlands, rolling grasslands and chaparral communities. It is a key watershed shelter for Penitencia Creek and houses protected wildlife species such as the red-legged frog and golden eagle. The preserve has over 10 miles of trails and is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Rancho Cañada Del Oro's rolling green hills and oak trees under a pale blue sky with wispy clouds
5,428 acres
Protected December 2000

Our largest preserve, with over 12 miles of trails, including an ADA accessible paved loop trail around the meadow. Visitors can see spectacular views of the Diablo Range and Mt. Hamilton as well as native oaks, creekside habitats, and Western pond turtles during docent-led hikes to Hidden Lake.

Dirt trail twisting through green hillsides and grove of trees at Coyote Valley
348 acres
Protected April 2010

Coyote Valley is full of conservation values including a rich cultural history, valuable water resources, exceptional recreational opportunities, farm and ranchland, and a critical wildlife corridor. It has 328 acres of serpentine rock outcroppings, oak savannas, and beautiful views of the valley.

Grassy field with yellow wildflowers on top of Coyote Ridge overlooking Coyote Valley below
1,859 acres
Protected October 2015

A spectacular preserve that is vital for its vast natural resources. The extensive serpentine grassland is habitat for 14 rare species including the federally threatened Bay Checkerspot butterfly, Tule elk, and burrowing owls. The property is also the source of 3 streams that feed into Coyote Creek and provides critical recharge to the groundwater basin.

Dirt road leading through the green rolling hills of Tilton Ranch with view of Coyote Valley in the distance
1,861 acres
Protected October 2020

The Authority contributed $1.4M in Measure Q funds to protect one of the County's largest remaining working lands in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency and Peninsula Open Space Trust. The Tilton Complex of protected lands will expand the Authority’s adjoining 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, which was itself once part of Tilton Ranch. This significant land conservation deal dramatically expands the network of protected lands in the greater Coyote Valley benefitting people and wildlife alike.

Looking across the green low basin of North Coyote Valley Conservation Area surrounded by green hill under a blue sky with white clouds
937 acres
Protected November 2019

The Open Space Authority is responsible for managing, stewarding, and opening almost 1,000 acres of open space in North Coyote Valley. Alongside key partners, Peninsula Open Space Trust and the City of San José, the Authority will lead a science and community-based planning process to establish a unique open space preserve and regional destination of statewide and national significance that preserves the environment, connects people to nature, and provides lasting climate resilience.

Looking up at the sky, surrounded by circle of redwood trees
192 acres
Protected February 2018

The Authority's first acquisition that permanently protects part of a majestic redwood forest. This property has very high conservation values in terms of biodiversity and water resources. It is located in an area that receives the highest amount of rainfall in the County. A tributary to Uvas Creek and a main stem of Croy Creek run through the property, which contain habitat for native fish, such as rainbow trout and riffle sculpin, and potential habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog and the foothill yellow-legged frog.

In November 2022, the Open Space Authority added 80 acres to Croy Redwoods Preserve thanks to a generous property donation from the Bay Family. Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains along Croy Creek, these permanently protected lands host beautiful redwood stands, oak woodlands, and rich riparian habitat for native fish, amphibians, and other wildlife.

View from top of golden hillside with oak tree looking down across expansive valley with reservoir and mountains in the distance
2,743 acres
Protected November 2016

Located next to Henry Coe State Park between Anderson Lake and Coyote Lake, this key property links nearly 105,000 acres of public lands into a contiguous network from north of the Santa Clara County line to Pinnacles National Park in San Benito County. The Authority contributed $500,000 in Measure Q funds and secured a $2 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation towards Santa Clara County Parks' acquisition of this magnificent 2743-acre property. The conservation easement ensures that the park, recreation, and open space values of the property are protected forever.

View from rock-covered hillside looking down at residential neighborhoods and mountains beyond
61 acres
Protected March 2016

Located on Santa Teresa Ridge in San Jose's Santa Teresa neighborhood, this land is a gateway to 1,500 acres of open space land. It provides sweeping views across the Almaden Valley to downtown San Jose and the Mt. Hamilton Range. The property has prominent sandstone rock outcroppings and was once part of the historic Greystone Quarry.

Pond surrounded by forest-covered hillsides under blue sky
201 acres
Protected December 2014

Located above Cherry Flats Reservoir, the Upper Penitencia Creek conservation easement, owned by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, protects riparian areas along Upper Penitencia Creek and important habitat for sensitive species like the California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, and golden eagle.

Reflective pond surrounded by grassy fields and trees under dark blue sky
285 acres
Protected September 2014

Located in the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains, Little Uvas Creek consists primarily of serpentine hardwoods and grasslands, grey pine, and oak woodland. A total of five perennial ponds are located on the property. Docent-led hikes visit the ponds to watch Western Pond turtles.

Shrubs and chaparral plants with dark green hills beyond
358 acres
Protected June 2014

In exchange for the Authority's funding contribution to Santa Clara County Parks' acquisition of the property, the Seven Oaks Hill conservation easement ensures that the property will remain public open space in perpetuity and conserves natural, scenic, and open space values for habitat, wildlife, and passive recreational use.

Green and golden peak of El Toro hill with purple lupine wildflowers blooming at the bottom of the slope
58 acres
Protected March 2010

Nestled above Morgan Hill, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this hillside is home to Coast Live Oak, California bay woodlands, chaparral, and grasslands.

Green hillsides covered in trees and small stones
1,001 acres
Protected July 2007

Connected with Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve, these conservation easements are part of a chain of protected land along Coyote Ridge that provides habitat for many rare, threatened, and endangered species, including the bay checkerspot butterfly, Santa Clara Valley dudleya, Mt. Hamilton thistle, California tiger salamander, and California red-legged frogs as well as others. The land is owned by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency and the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Still blue pond surrounded by golden green hills under a clear blue sky
819 acres
Protected January 2007

This preserve has a half acre pond and several creeks that are part of the primary watershed for the Pajaro River, which flows toward Monterey Bay. The preserve also offers habitat for California red-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders, and features Coast Live Oak and annual grasslands.

Blue Anderson Reservoir surrounded by brown hills and trees under a blue sky
38 acres
Protected May 2006

Located by Anderson Reservoir, the Open Space Authority acquired Jackson Sisters Ranch and transferred it to Santa Clara County Parks, to help expand the boundaries of Anderson Lake County Park.

Green and brown hillsides covered in trees under blue sky
54 acres
Protected August 2005

Located in the East Foothills above San Jose, the Alum Rock Falls conservation easement protects natural, scenic, and open space values and includes a future trail corridor (not open to the public) that will connect to the Authority's Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.

Looking across mountain range extending to horizon, trees in foreground
714 acres
Protected August 2002

As the third highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this preserve has panoramic views of the Diablo Range with chaparral and Bay Laurel plant communities. It also contains the headwaters for Llagas Creek which provides essential water supply and aquatic habitat for fish and amphibians.

Colorful sunrise over dark forest-covered mountains
1,253 acres
Protected April 2001

Part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the headwaters of Uvas Creek drain through the mountain’s slopes, providing high-quality aquatic habitat and water supply. Douglas fir and Gray pines are also found on this rugged terrain.

Small red barn in green field under the branches of an oak tree
3,524 acres
Protected February 1999

Palassou Ridge connects Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park to Henry Coe State Park. This preserve has deep, wooded canyons and rolling grassy hills as well as important habitat for California red-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders. The property contains a historic stone house and was a campsite for the Anza Expedition.

Summit Conservation Easement
20 acres
Protected May 1995

The Summit scenic easement was donated by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to the Open Space Authority and helps protect the viewshed in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Frantoio Grove Agricultural Conservation Easement
97 acres
Protected November 2020

The Open Space Authority acquired this family-owned olive grove with a $2,973,750 grant from the California Strategic Growth Council, California Climate Investments, and California Department of Conservation’s Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program (SALC), created to support agricultural practices in the state and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing the conversion of farmland into development.

Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve
284 acres
Protected October 2014

The preserve has been in continuous agricultural production since at least 1939 and is important to protecting the working lands and agricultural heritage of Santa Clara County. The Pajaro River is a critical wildlife corridor connecting the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountains and provides important riparian habitat.

Bloomfield Conservation Easement
296 acres
Protected November 2003

Located in the Soap Lake Floodplain, the Bloomfield conservation easement protects agricultural, scenic, open space, trail, and wetland values. The proposed route for the Bay Area Ridge Trail follows the road that bisects the property (not open to the public). Hay is grown on the northern part of the property and row crops are grown on the southern part.

Taylor Ranch
510 acres
Protected January 2006

The Open Space Authority contributed $500,000 to help the Silicon Valley Land Conservancy acquire a conservation easement over 510 acres of prime agricultural land at the southern tip of Santa Clara County.

Carnadero Preserve
282 acres
Protected September 2004

The Authority contributed $500,000 to help the Silicon Valley Land Conservancy acquire a conservation easement over this prime agricultural land and riparian habitat at the southern tip of Santa Clara County. It is currently planted mostly in leaf lettuce.

Silacci Uplands
1,388 acres
Protected December 2000

The Open Space Authority contributed $250,000 to help The Nature Conservancy acquire a conservation easement over this property which consists of rangeland, oak woodland, and bay woodland and is adjacent to Henry W. Coe State Park.

A large, green field of agricultural land with the Diablo Range in the backdrop. The sky is blue with lines of clouds on the upper right side of the photo.
60 acres
Protected October 2021

The protection of these 60 acres of prime farmland at Laguna Avenue and Santa Teresa Boulevard provides opportunities to promote sustainable, local climate-smart agricultural practices within the Coyote Valley Conservation Program Area. These working lands were purchased for a total of $3,050,000 in partnership with the State of California Department of Conservation through the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program (SALC), Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and the Santa Clara County Planning Department.