Update: In November, the City of San José, the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority reached a historic deal to protect over 900 acres of land in San José’s Coyote Valley, ending more than 35 years of development battles. The land in this deal includes a critical gap in the proposed Ridge Trail route. Find the November Bay Nature article here.
What: The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA) has awarded the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council a Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant to begin work on closing the trail gap between Santa Teresa County Park and Coyote Creek parkway.
Why: Closing this gap will extend opportunities for exploration and ultimately connecting people in Morgan Hill and San José to Santa Teresa County Park and all the way up to Mount Umunhum. The connection would continue north along the Coyote Creek Trail where the Ridge Trail will connect to the upcoming Berryessa BART station (opening in 2020) and will be front and center to an estimated ridership of 14,000 people a day. We are the string that connects the Bay Area’s “pearls” of urban wild and nothing demonstrates that better than this video and soundtrack of coyotes in Santa Teresa County Park. Without this trail connection, these natural and recreational places will remain beautiful, but disconnected.
This trail also serves an even more basic and essential need for wildlife. This area has been identified as a regionally important wildlife corridor by the Bay Area Critical Linkages Project and the Ridge Trail is designated as a “Priority Conservation Area,” in Plan Bay Area, because it provides natural resource, scenic, recreational, and ecosystem functions. More specifically, OSA’s Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Study cites this proposed trail corridor as critical in providing wildlife with necessary food, water, and breeding habitat resources. This study also states that public access in this area has not yet been addressed and that no entity is currently prioritizing this issue but, it is critical that public access be addressed at the same time as the wildlife corridors are secured.
While there are many trails nearby, none connect the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Diablo Range.
Funding need: We have received funding for the Feasibility Study from Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, the Bohannon Family Foundation and Resource Legacy Fund. This is a complex multi-phase project and we will be seeking additional funding for design, environmental review, permitting and construction.