Project Planner: Cherise Orange
Project Planner: Jeremy Farr
Project: Since the purchase of the Coyote Canyon Property (Property) in 2016, the goal of the County Parks and Recreation Department (County Parks) has been to manage the existing resources and provide public access onto the Property within two to three years. In January 2018, the County Parks undertook a planning process that resulted in a Natural Resource Management (NRM) Plan for the entire Property and an Interim Access (IA) Plan that makes recommendations for the development of public access in a limited area of the Property. The two documents, collectively called the Coyote Canyon Plan to assure that the development of public access will occur in balance with the long-term preservation and restoration of natural resources within the Property.
The Plan will facilitate opening the Property to public access immediately following plan adoption, ideally by Spring/Summer 2020.
Location: Located east of Morgan Hill, the property is situated within agricultural, residential, and natural undeveloped areas in unincorporated Santa Clara County. The 2,741-acre acquisition provides a regionally significant ecological linkage, connecting north to Anderson Lake County Park, east to Henry Coe State Park, and Coyote Lake – Harvey Bear Ranch County Park to the south. Coyote Creek bisects the Coyote Canyon portion of the property.
The Coyote Canyon Natural Resources Management Plan & Interim Access Plan and the associated Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration are being considered by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors for approval and adoption on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.
The meeting documents are available here.
Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
The IS/MND for the Coyote Canyon Natural Resources Management Plan & Interim Access Plan (Proposed Project) was previously circulated for a 30-day public review period beginning April 30, 2019, and ending May 30, 2019, and was submitted to the California State Clearinghouse (SCH# 2019059009). During the public review period, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board submitted a comment that identified additional potential permitting requirements for portions of trails that may occur in waters of the United States which fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The 30-day public review period for the recirculated Draft Revised IS/MND for the Proposed Project is now closed. The Draft Revised Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration is available here. The Draft Plan documents are available here.
Goals of the Planning Process:
County Staff will complete an informative and fact-based investigation to determine the most suitable property access solution for the public while balancing natural resource management goals. This interim planning process does not evaluate Coyote Highlands nor the east-side of Coyote Canyon for public access. A full master planning process that would expand public access into the full extent of the property will come in future years.
The development of the Plan was guided by the following goals:
- Assess the existing condition of the Property;
- Evaluate the feasibility of providing interim access to the Property via trail for hiking, equestrian, bicycling, and dogs on-leash uses (multi-use);
- Recommend ways to manage recreation, development, and land use impacts through monitoring and adaptive management strategies;
- Pursue efforts that balance the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of existing natural resources and ecological processes on the Property within staffing and budget constraints.