Project Planner: Cherise Orange
Project: The County Parks and Recreation Department (County Parks) has begun the planning process for the Coyote Highlands – Coyote Canyon properties that were acquired in 2016. An interim use plan will be developed to open the property to public access and address natural resource needs; which informs the interim use as well as any future master plan. A master plan will occur sometime in the future.
The primary goal of the planning effort will be to investigate the properties to determine existing conditions, opportunities and constraints, and to present recommendations that facilitate opening the properties to public access immediately following plan adoption, ideally by Spring/Summer 2019. Draft documents will be posted on the County Parks website once available. Please check regularly for additional information.
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.
Preparation of Draft Plan Document
County Parks and its consultant team are preparing the Coyote Highlands - Coyote Natural Resources Management Plan & Interim Access Plan.
The Draft Plan will be made available to the public for review and comments in Fall 2018. Comments should be provided in writing via U.S. Mail, email, or by hand delivery
Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
In addition to the planning process, County Parks will be reviewing the project under CEQA to fully assess any potential environmental impacts of the above.
Once the Draft Plan Document is completed, County Parks will initiate an Initial Study (IS). It is anticipated that a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) will be prepared. The Draft MND will be made available to the public for review and comment in Fall 2018. Comments should be provided in writing via U.S. Mail, email, or by hand delivery.
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 Plan developed as a result of the process will evaluate:
- Ecological resources to provide natural resource management recommendations that address the long-term management and enhancement of natural resources within the properties;
- The potential for interim public recreational access;
- The continued use of rangeland management as a tool for native species enrichment, while balancing public access;
- And the potential completion of a segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail (Ridge Trail) outlined in the Santa Clara Countywide Trails Master Plan Update (CWTMP), an element of the Parks and Recreation Section of the County General Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1995.