In the heart of Silicon Valley, just yards away from one of the busiest highways in the Bay Area, lies a vast swath of land that is home to checker-spot butterflies, Tule elk, yellow and purple wildflowers, and serpentine grasslands. The ridge land on the east foothills of Coyote Valley is permanently preserved thanks to long term strategic partnerships between funders, local leaders and supporters.
Just minutes south of San Jose, Coyote Ridge sits between the Santa Cruz mountains to the west and the Diablo range to the East. It is a gateway to thousands of acres of open space in the area. The Moore Foundation has worked with local partners and grantees since 2014 to preserve this important land area. The foundation’s most recent grant to the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency in 2019 marks the latest milestone in preserving this land area.
Coyote Ridge has a unique history prior to its preservation. United Technologies Corporation previously owned and operated a 5,127-acre rocket propellant development and manufacturing facility just outside of San Jose. These lands included “buffer lands” which isolated the facility from the developed Santa Clara Valley. With foundation support, the buffer lands were transferred to the Santa Clara Valley Open Space authority in 2015 and are now known as the Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. East Coyote Ridge – which remains devoid of structures and features unpaved roads, fences and troughs – lies between the open space preserve and lands retained by United Technologies Corporation for ongoing efforts to clean up the soil and groundwater, serving as an important buffer to the contaminated lands.
Local organizations including the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority will continue to be stewards of the land, expanding and maintaining public access to the Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. Visitors can currently explore a sustainable trail network and climb nearly 1,400 feet in elevation through grasslands up to the ridgeline for sweeping views of Santa Clara Valley. In the furrows and folds of the hillsides, small streams support riparian plants and animals. Pristine rolling hills, heritage oaks and rock outcroppings accent the wilderness terrain. The ridgeline also completes a nearly three-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.
Preserving Coyote Ridge will maintain conservation values related to biodiversity and watershed integrity. This important deal will also ensure future opportunities for compatible recreation activities, adding another important and scenic element to the unique and special character of the San Francisco Bay Area.