gmhTODAY 06 gmhToday Jan Feb 2016 - Page 80

A Gift To Ourselves Written By Mike Monroe This is a very special article for me to write for a number of reasons. It is a week before Thanksgiving — a holiday for all to express their gratitude to friends and family and to our Creator for all the wonderful blessings that we enjoy. The weather has turned cooler with a definite chilliness as we start our days, the change of seasons suggesting a slow down in the pace of our hectic lives, and the first rains have come greening up the hillsides and our long parched landscape. I decided that the best thing to do before sitting down at my keyboard was to take a creekside walk to clear my thoughts of all the day-to-day busyness and to absorb the warmth of the sun and the sweet air. I am not usually so enthusiastic about writing, but something so important to me personally, and I believe to all who call the Valley of Hearts Delight their home, was announced in the headlines of our local newspapers. The Santa Clara County Parks Department, the Open Space Authority, and a number of other land-use organizations, working for years, have created a vast, continuous expanse of permanent open space along the eastern border of Santa Clara County. To close the last gap, a historic purchase recently was completed in the foothills above Morgan Hill and Coyote Valley. Paul Rogers wrote in the San Jose Mercury that “an area seven times the size of San Francisco, 194,218 acres, has now been preserved from development. It is a roughly 50-mile stretch from Henry W. Coe State Park in Gilroy to Calaveras Reservoir, north of Milpitas at the Alameda-Santa Clara county line.” Within the past few weeks the Open Space Authority purchased a significant parcel from United Technologies along Coyote Ridge and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved the acquisition of Coyote Highlands and Coyote Canyon Ranch to be managed by County Parks. It is an amazing gift to ourselves. The people of Santa Clara County truly desire to preserve the best of our landscapes, not only for ourselves, but for future generations who will say well done and thank you. The Coyote Highlands parcel has been in my thoughts for several years as it was once the home of Charles and Sarah Kellogg. In 1913, the couple moved from Philadelphia to the relatively remote hillside in the Diablo Range of southern Santa Clara County. They named their place the Ever Ever Ranch and Kellogg Springs. Charles Kellogg was an internationally famous vaudeville star and Victor recording artist who had a unique ability to sing bird calls. His friendships included John Muir, John Burroughs, Auguste Rodin, Andrew P. Hill and the founders of the Save of the Redwoods League. Most people locally do not know too much about Charles Kellogg, but in his day he was significant personality in our country’s early efforts to preserve and respect our natural resources. My goal, ever since the 100-year anniversary of his arrival here, has been to shine a light on his story and his message of responsible and ethical stewardship of the land. Coyote Highlands and Coyote Canyon Ranch, as future parklands, will link Henry W. Coe State Park with Anderson Lake and Coyote-Harvey Bear County Parks. And that’s not all. During the 1960’s, William Penn Mott, Jr., then the general manager for the East Bay Regional Park District, floated an idea of a trail system that would allow walkers, equestrians and bicyclists to traverse the entire Bay Area along our ridgelines. Later, in 1987 as director of the National Park Service, he promoted this project and, in the words of Galen Rowell, “Bill Mott envisioned a 400 mile trail linking all of the communities of the Bay Area following the ridgetops connecting all the communities not only physically but also spiritually. It would demonstrate how entities can move beyond their own selfish views of the world and work toward a common goal.” With that spark, the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council was formed, and ever since it has been striving to fulfill Bill Mott’s dream. The dream is now a huge step closer to becoming reality, especially in Santa Clara County, and a big thank you is in order to our community for putting our money where our hearts are – where we live. Please take some time to experience the treasures we have right outside our doorways, you will feel so much better. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY SUPERVISORS OFFICE 80 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 gmhtoday.com A Gift To Ourselves T his is a very special article for me to write for a number of reasons. It is a week before Thanksgiving — a holiday for all to express their gratitude to friends and family and to our Creator for all the wonderful blessings that we enjoy. The weather has turned cooler with a definite chilliness as we start our days, the change of seasons suggesting a slow down in the pace of our hectic lives, and the first rains have come greening up the hillsides and our long parched landscape. I decided that the best thing to do before sitting down at my key- board was to take a creekside walk to clear my thoughts of all the day-to-day busyness and to absorb the warmth of the sun and the sweet air. I am not usually so enthusiastic about writing, but something so important to me personally, and I believe to all who call the Valley of Hearts Delight their home, was announced in the headlines of our local newspapers. 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