Preserving Nature, Providing Recreation

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority recently opened a 1,859-acre preserve, protecting sensitive habitat and providing five miles of trails and a wide range of accessible experiences for visitors.

The Máyyan ‘Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve features five miles of new trails—including a new 3-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and a wide range of accessible experiences—open for free to hikers on a schedule that balances recreation and nature experiences with the sensitive habitat for the many species that make their home in the preserve’s rare serpentine grasslands.

wildflowers in an open space preserve
Photos Courtesy of Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Less than 15 miles south of downtown San José and nestled between the Santa Cruz and the Diablo mountain ranges, Máyyan 'Ooyákma in Northern Coyote Valley connects more than 1 million acres of core habitat and open space.

“Máyyan 'Ooyákma - Coyote Ridge is a biodiversity hot spot in Santa Clara County, and its opening as a preserve presents an unparalleled opportunity to educate the public about the importance of protecting habitats for endangered plants and animals and helping them adapt to a changing climate,” said Andrea Mackenzie, general manager of the Open Space Authority.

“With our free Butterfly Pass, bilingual interpretation, special hours and docent-led programs, the Open Space Authority is embarking on a novel approach to enlightening visitors about the pressing climate crisis and the sensitive species that rely on these lands. This place will serve as an inspiring outdoor classroom, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to learn about wildlife, climate science and how to responsibly care for the land. We want visitors to witness firsthand how unique this place is. We are asking everyone to do their part to help respect and protect the sensitive plants and wildlife that call this place home.”

sign for the Máyyan ‘Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve The preserve is located within the ethnohistoric territory of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay area, which worked with the Open Space Authority to integrate a Chochenyo translation of “Coyote Ridge” into the preserve’s name. Máyyan 'Ooyákma is pronounced “My-yahn Oiy-yahk-mah.” The Tribe also helped develop bilingual interpretive materials at the preserve to give further visibility to the Chochenyo language.

In 2015, the Open Space Authority permanently protected the property after successfully securing a total of $8.6 million in funding to protect the rare serpentine grasslands, the Bay checkerspot butterfly population found on the preserve and the wildlife connectivity this location provides between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range. The acquisition was made possible through the generous support of various public and private partnerships, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the State Coastal Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Board, California State Parks, the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Resources Legacy Fund.

Prior to its preservation, the property served as a buffer between the bustling Santa Clara Valley and a 5,127-acre facility for rocket and missile testing that United Technologies Corporation operated just a stone's throw away from San José.

Funding for this public access project totaled $4 million, provided by the Open Space Authority's Measure Q, a $400,000 grant from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, $400,000 in funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Priority Conservation Area Grant Program and over $2.5 million from California State Parks.