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What You Don’t Know About the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve

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If you have recently spent time in Coyote Valley chances are you’ve been to the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Those who have used the multi-use trail in the Preserve can attest to the inspiring views it offers of Coyote Valley’s rural landscape as well as Coyote Ridge, Mount Hamilton, and Mount Umunhum. But are you aware of the history of this wonderful property?

Part of the ancestral lands of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the property was also at one time a portion of the Tilton-Baird Ranch, one of the biggest cattle ranches around. Notably, 604 acres of the Baird parcels of Tilton Ranch in the southeastern end of Coyote Valley are currently poised for purchase by the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency. 

The Tilton-Baird Ranch is currently owned by Janet Burback and her family, who are fifth generation ranchers in the valley. Janet’s grandmother sold what is now the Preserve to developers to help pay for estate taxes. The property was designated for residential estate homes under San Jose’s Coyote Valley Specific Plan that was long opposed by some of the Protect Coyote Valley partners. However in 2008, facing a recession and strong opposition, the Specific Plan was withdrawn and the City focused on updating its general plan.

In 2010, the developers who had purchased the property sold to the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA). Coming full circle, the OSA was pleased to re enlist their nextdoor neighbor, Tilton Ranch, in the grazing of the new Preserve. 

In 2015, the OSA opened the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve to the public, making it the cornerstone for its – and all of the Protect Coyote Valley partners – vision of this unique and irreplaceable landscape. Each season offers new experiences of the natural beauty, wildlife, and trail along with informative resources throughout this preserve – so come out and enjoy!