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Thread: Mt.Umunhum

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucko58
    Who still calls them listservs?

    I posted that to the MBOSC list. Midpen in the person of Gina Coony came to ROMP and to Mere Mortals looking for MTBers' views on the Mt. Um planning process. I think this is intended to be a small "focus group" type informational meeting, not a big public gathering. The public meetings will come down the road.

    And BTW, next time please ask permission before posting something of mine off a mailing list to this forum. I don't think the call for discussion was intended for an audience as large as MTBR's NorCal form.
    Wow guy. I was just trying to get the word out on what I assumed was a public meeting, since it found it's way into my e-mail and I am not a member of ROMP nor Mere Mortals. Maybe if it is so super top secret you shouldn't send it out via LISTSERV next time.
    Last edited by Carl Hungus; 07-09-2010 at 11:28 PM.

  2. #102
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    chucko58,

    Check your pm's.

  3. #103
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    This was in the Mercury News yesterday,

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15480655


    After 30 years, work to clean up Almaden Air Force Station finally kicks off

    By Paul Rogers

    progers@mercurynews.com
    Posted: 07/09/2010 06:43:12 PM PDT
    Updated: 07/10/2010 03:55:12 AM PDT


    Thirty years after Almaden Air Force Station, a former Cold War radar outpost atop the hills south of San Jose, closed down, a project to demolish its crumbling buildings and open the site as a mountaintop public park began Friday.

    Ohlone Indians, political leaders and military veterans gathered near the summit of Mount Umunhum for a ceremony to recount the scenic peak's storied history and unveil plans for its future.

    "Our goal is to restore the environment and transform this place to a breathtaking destination for the public," said Steve Abbors, general manager of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which owns the site.

    Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers said a contract will be put out to bid next month to remove asbestos and lead paint from 88 derelict buildings at the former military station. The contractor will be selected by September, and work is expected to be completed by next summer.

    Meanwhile, the open space district plans to hold several public workshops, starting this fall, to collect ideas about how to transform the site into a signature landmark — a Silicon Valley version of the East Bay's Mount Diablo or Marin County's Mount Tamalpais.

    "I just turned 69, and I learned that if you live long enough, you get to see the fruits of your labor," said U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, who led efforts in Congress last year to secure $3.2 million for the cleanup.

    On Friday, the mountaintop
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    afforded clear views of the Diablo Range to the east, downtown San Jose to the north and Monterey Bay to the south — including the white caps of waves off Santa Cruz. Mount Umunhum may well be the only place in Santa Clara County where one can see San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the same spot.

    "That you can have this sense of wildness so close to an urban center is unique," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose. "Look at the view. It's beautiful."

    Honda said he hopes that after demolition work, additional fundraising, environmental studies and restoration on the summit, the site will be open for public access by 2014.

    "It will be a place for environmentalists, hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and students who want to study the area," he said. "All the roadblocks are falling down before us."

    Total cost of restoration, demolition of all the buildings and repaving the potholed five-mile road to the summit is $11.5 million, the district estimates. Honda, along with Lofgren and Sen. Barbara Boxer, have requested $4.28 million in the current federal budget toward the project. The final $4 million will come from the open space district.

    The 3,486-foot mountain, named for the Ohlone Indian phrase

    "resting place of the hummingbird," towers above South San Jose and Los Gatos on chaparral ridges between Lexington Reservoir and Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

    Off-limits to the public for half a century, it is known to many South Bay residents only for the box-shaped radar tower building, which servicemen called "the cube," visible from Highway 85 and other spots across Santa Clara Valley.

    Almaden Air Force Station operated on Mount Umunhum's summit from 1957 to 1980. Gazing at screens in dark rooms 24 hours a day, technicians scanned the skies for waves of Soviet bombers that never came. Occasionally, they called for scrambling fighter jets from Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato if wayward passenger jets failed to properly identify themselves.

    At one point, 120 Air Force personnel and their families lived at the site, which had homes, a gymnasium, garages, even a bowling alley.

    "It was an unbelievable place. On cold, crisp days, you could see the Farallon Islands," said J.D. Whitaker of Santa Clara, who served as a radio site supervisor at the station from 1976 to 1979.

    "I was stationed in a whole lot of places and I have more attachment to Mount Umunhum than anywhere else. It was a privilege to serve up there."

    After satellites and AWACS planes made the radar obsolete, the base closed.

    Today, behind padlocked gates, the buildings are crumbling with broken roofs and collapsed floors.

    In 1986, the open space district, a government agency based in Los Altos, purchased the summit for $260,000. For more than 20 years, the open space district insisted that the Defense Department pay to demolish the old buildings. But the Pentagon did little, arguing that the district had purchased the site "as is."

    After the open space district's new general manager, Steve Abbors, made opening the site a top priority, Honda and Lofgren also stepped up efforts to secure funding.

    The district has since purchased nearly 18,000 acres on the mountain's slopes, an area it calls Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. Although the summit is closed, some of the adjacent land is open for hiking and biking.

    Public hearings will help decide whether the five-story radar tower will be torn down, what kind of visitor center to build and other issues.

    On Friday, Pete Siemens, a member of the open space district's board who represents the area, said he hopes the radar tower will stay.

    "I'd like to see people be able to go to the top," he said. "I don't know if we can afford that right away, but maybe we could put a visitors' center on the first floor."

    Contact Paul Rogers at 408-920-5045.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    Wow guy. I was just trying to get the word out on what I assumed was a public meeting, since it found it's way into my e-mail and I am not a member of ROMP nor Mere Mortals. Maybe if it is so super top secret you shouldn't send it out via LISTSERV next time.
    If it was super secret I wouldn't have posted it to MBOSC. But yeah, maybe next time I'll keep things like this to myself so as to maximize my influence over Midpen.

    If you still call it a "LISTSERV", maybe you should remember some "NETIQUETTE".
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  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Just another 4 years before it opens...
    You mean La Honda Creek OSP?

    I'm not holding my breath on Mt. Um opening any time soon. We have a reluctant Federal Gov't doing the cleanup and a very cautious MROSD as the property manager, plus a bunch of cranky neighbors who don't want us using their roads.

    But at least the process is underway.
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  6. #106
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    From the SF Chronicle article linked by Skyline35.

    The news conference, on top of Mt. Umunhum, was actually on the front page of the paper version of the SF Chronicle. I was thinking riots in Oakland or something else would take precedence.

    I thought this part was cool. Would have liked to hear what "Umunhum" sounds like in Ohlone:

    Linda Yamane (left) and Jakki Kehl at the news conference sing a traditional Ohlone song.


    I thought this part was dopey:
    San Jose Rep. Mike Honda said "This will not only be the resting place of hummingbirds, but the resting place of those who want to come up here and hum."

    But hey, the dopey guy (on the right above) finally got funds for improvement and opening after a few decades of stand off!

    And one of the better pictures yet of the site up there:


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  7. #107
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    Having just seen this thread for the first time, I want to add something. When I lived in Los Gatos I was a contractor. I got to go on some of those private properties. One was really cool. An old retired man with his house situated right next to a fire road. This was on the back side of Lexington reservoir way up the hill. He told me that every day for years he got on his Honda 110 trail bike and road up to the peak. It was a glorious place.

    It makes me wonder if there couldn't be access from Lexington to that peak. For all I know there already is.

  8. #108
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    "Gina Coony of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will be sitting down with us to discuss the future of Mount Umunhum. The Federal Government has (finally!) committed to providing some cleanup money, and MROSD is looking to develop the site once it has been cleaned up. MROSD has explicitly asked for our input.

    The meeting is Tuesday, July 20th at 7 PM at MROSD headquarters, 330 Distel Circle, Los Altos. Please RSVP to me if you wish to attend, they need a head count."

    Can anybody speak to the details of this meeting a bit more?
    Well, once the issues around the buildings are resolved, there will be road and/or trail access to the site. This will have implications for mountain bikers.

    I personally would like to see MROSD design and dedicate a mountain-bike only trail or multi-trail corridor, from Umunhum down to the bottom of Sierra Azul to deal with the people who will want to shuttle.

    I also want to see other trails built, including a connection to Soquel Demo.

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW if you want to attend by emailing me patty AT ecocyclist DOT org

    Patty
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  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobbyknees
    I also want to see other trails built, including a connection to Soquel Demo.
    That would be sweet. I live right by Santa Teresa Park; a route from home thru there to Quicksilver down to Sierra Azul/Mt. Um then down to Demo, then Nisene and on down to my bro's house in Soquel would be epic.
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  10. #110
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    Bumping to see if anyone wants to come to the meeting with MROSD on Tuesday 7/20, 7pm, Los Altos. RSVP to me if you do!

    Patty
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  11. #111
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    We had about a dozen at the meeting this evening. Gina Coony's, and MidPen's, interest was in learning what the public feels the peak should be. Return it to nature? Or keep the cube and a few buildings, and develop it to a degree, i.e. a visitor center, a shop, picnic areas, garbage cans, backpack camp, etc.? To pay for the repaving of the road, should they charge $s to drive up??? This is more like Mt Tam or Mt Diablo than any of their other sites (she said she spoke with staff at those places).

    The meeting wasn't a Sierra Azul master plan meeting, it was really focused on the postage stamp few acres of the former Air Force base. Gina brought up a few plan elements and made notes on our comments/feedback. Naturally, the topic of Sierra Azul planning came up and Gina "gets" what mountain bikers want. She spoke enthusiastically of the great trails and connector possibility for Sierra Azul. So did the mountain bikers. But MidPen's immediate concern is making this decision about the area on the Mount Umunhum peak. There is urgency because the recent Federal funding needs to be "committed" by a certain point in time - use it or lose it.

    ///Charlie

  12. #112
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    I hope the meeting went well, I've never been to the top of Umunhum legally. I'd love to visit there again.

    Has anybody proposed a tramway to the top? It could start in Old Almaden---it would be a fantastic tourist attraction! Like the one to Palm Spring's Mt. San Jacinto or any number of tramways in the Alps in Europe.

    Just as long as they have provisions to carry bicycles!
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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg
    Has anybody proposed a tramway to the top? It could start in Old Almaden---it would be a fantastic tourist attraction! Like the one to Palm Spring's Mt. San Jacinto or any number of tramways in the Alps in Europe.

    Just as long as they have provisions to carry bicycles!
    LOL. Too bad you weren't at the meeting to propose that. Would've been a unique suggestion for sure.
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  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg
    I hope the meeting went well, I've never been to the top of Umunhum legally. I'd love to visit there again.
    Public access to the peak via the paved road is definitely part of MidPen's plans. Worse case mentioned was auto access would only be on the weekend.

    ///Charlie

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35
    Public access to the peak via the paved road is definitely part of MidPen's plans. Worse case mentioned was auto access would only be on the weekend.

    ///Charlie
    What about weekday shuttles?
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  16. #116
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    Keep the Cube!
    www.24hrBikeShop.com 10% of your purchase price is donated to the trail organization of your choice!

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovemtnbiking
    Keep the Cube!
    Yep! I'm stoked at all the possibilities of the site, but whatever they do, please don't demolish the box!

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovemtnbiking
    Keep the Cube!
    I grew up in Palo Alto, and we could see that cube from our house!

    By the way, the views from the house I worked on up near that peak are more than a little extraordinary. That would be a monster climb to that location.
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  19. #119
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    Getting the ball rolling...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    LOL. Too bad you weren't at the meeting to propose that. Would've been a unique suggestion for sure.
    Somehow I managed to get a letter in today's SJMN both in print and online:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/letters/c...nclick_check=1

    ....at the bottom of the page! It reads:


    "How about a tram to Mt. Umunhum?

    Has anyone brought forth the notion of running an aerial tramway to the top of Mount Umunhum? Something along the likes of Palm Spring's Mount San Jacinto or Tahoe's Heavenly Valley trams.

    It could become a great tourist attraction and would allow easy access for sightseers, hikers and cyclists to the top of one of the best vistas in area.

    The tram could start in somewhere in Almaden Quicksilver Park or Old Town Almaden. It would be even better if light rail had a connection to the bottom tram station.

    Paul Liebenberg
    Hollister"


    They edited out a paragraph where I suggested they run a "readers poll" on the proposal, maybe they're working on it!?!? It'll be interesting to see if my letter gets letters!

    Thankfully they left in the word "cyclists"!
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  20. #120
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    Yes, really a tram...

    Quote Originally Posted by beaverbiker
    Really? A tram? Why don't we just start with some mountain bike trails.
    The "mountain bike trails" are already there, they're just overgrown (and running through pot farms!) The notion of a tram would allow full utilization of Mount Umunhum without the need to improve local roads (Hicks, Mt. Umunhum etc.) for automobile traffic. This seems to be one of the hurdles to opening the former military base.

    If I can get my act together I'll start a thread RE MidPen....

    FYI; My father and his friends, in the 1930's and before any improved roads, would ride their Harleys to the top of Mount Umunhum (and most other local peaks!) His favorite route was a fire trail from Cypress Point in Los Gatos, to El Sombroso, Mt Thayer and then on to Umunhum. Way before the power line roads were built. I did this myself in the late '60s but that's another story....

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  21. #121
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    This is a good read. It's called "A Tram? Shirley You Must Be Joking."

    http://www.openspace.org/downloads/basic_policy.pdf

  22. #122
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    I am really looking forward to biking to the top legally, such that ’ol man Methdaddy (with the white hair and white beard) doesn’t have to chase me out. That was the case one year ago. It’s really a beautiful view from the peak (3,286 feet) and the ride up is really nice too.
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  23. #123
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    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local-...k-proje/nPS3C/
    KTVU.com and wires
    Posted: 11:13 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Open space board approves Mount Umunhum park project

    SARATOGA, Calif. — Members of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's board convened in Saratoga Tuesday night and voted to recommend a project that would demolish all structures on Mount Umunhum -- except the iconic radio tower -- so that the space can be re-worked and opened to the public.

    The plan, known as the Environmental Restoration and Public Access Project, also calls for the construction of new trails, restrooms, parking lots, benches, and the creation of ceremonial space.

    Surrounded by the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, Mount Umunhum is the site of the defunct and gutted Almaden Air Force Station, which Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District spokesman Rudy Jurgensen compared to a small town, with its own generator, recreational facilities, apartments, and administrative buildings.

    During the Cold War, the radar tower was used to scan the horizon for Soviet planes, with most everyone who lived at the station supporting that radar, Jurgensen said.

    The board will reconvene on July 18, to gather public input regarding three possible plans for the tower. A final decision on the tower will be made in the fall.

    The entire project is expected to cost $13.2 million, including the $1 million the district has already spent on removing hazardous materials from the site. Jurgensen said the project has received $3.2 million in federal funding.

    The district hopes to get the remaining funding from public and private grants, according to Jurgensen.

    "We look forward to (when) ... this will really become one of the Bay Area's most breathtaking public destinations," Jurgensen said.
    "A final decision on the tower will be made in the fall."...ugh, this is agonizingly slow and is holding up the Sierra Azul master plan.

  24. #124
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    For sure it is slow and agonizing. But sometimes progress, or at least a false sense of, takes time.
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  25. #125
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    Sweet, now I can take the shuttle up and scream down Woods Road !!!!! Oh, wait...
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  26. #126
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    No good

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    Open space board approves Mount Umunhum park project | www.ktvu.com




    "A final decision on the tower will be made in the fall."...ugh, this is agonizingly slow and is holding up the Sierra Azul master plan.

    Arrgh! These folks could suck the fun out of a roller coaster, and seem to lack any sense of imagination (or irony ).

    From the article: "The entire project is expected to cost $13.2 million, including the $1 million the district has already spent on removing hazardous materials from the site. Jurgensen said the project has received $3.2 million in federal funding."

    "The district hopes to get the remaining funding from public and private grants, according to Jurgensen."

    Call me cynical, but I can't help think the above means that even after fall, nothing will happen for another extended period of time while they search for grants to pay for their vision.

    "We look forward to (when) ... this will really become one of the Bay Area's most breathtaking public destinations," Jurgensen said.

    Really? Then how about figuring out a way to get it open faster, at least periodically!

  27. #127
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    Mount Umunhum radar tower will stay standing -- at least for five years

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    "A final decision on the tower will be made in the Fall."
    It’s now Fall and they decided to wait 5 more years to decide…

    http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-...es-before-open

    Mount Umunhum radar tower will stay standing -- at least for five years
    By Eric Kurhi ekurhi@mercurynews.com
    Posted: 10/17/2012 09:19:14 PM PDT
    Updated: 10/18/2012 05:07:32 AM PDT

    SUNNYVALE -- Mount Umunhum's radar tower, the five-story Cold War-era landmark at the center of much discussion and impassioned debates, will stay standing -- at least for the next five years.

    After a spirited meeting over the fate of the structure atop the 3,486-foot peak south of San Jose, the board of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District unanimously decided Wednesday to leave it intact while money is raised to save it and $414,000 is spent on repairs.

    "We should make a point to say that we want the tower to stay," said Nonette Hanko, a board member, who was the most vocal about supporting the tower's preservation. She had unsuccessfully lobbied for language in the resolution stating that the board clearly seeks to keep the tower.

    At the meeting, project manager Meredith Manning said the option chosen by the board would allow the public to get up close to the tower for the first time in decades.

    "The public has seen the structure from the Valley floor for a long time, but haven't been able to experience its shade, its size or put their hands on it," Manning said. "It would provide the opportunity to more fully develop the summit area, and for a short time at least, people could experience the tower."

    Almaden Air Force Station historian Basim Jaber, who had led a petition drive that collected 2,200 signatures in support of the tower, had urged the board to go with the original option to preserve the tower.

    "It's kind of what we expected, but we were hoping for more," Jaber said of the decision. "Even if it's just five years, it buys us more time to go out and generate partnerships and get funds."

    During the hearing in downtown Sunnyvale attended by about 200 people, speaker after speaker described the tower as a historical and geographical marker.

    "You need to unambiguously and wholeheartedly go all in and say you do want to keep it or tear it down," said Sam Drake of San Jose. A smaller number, however, said it mars what could be a pristine natural peak.

    Robert Garner, a self-described outdoorsman from San Jose, read from a piece he wrote that he said represented what the mountain itself might say: "In recent times, you moved into the Valley below me but placed boxes on my head, marring my beauty."

    In voting to keep the tower for five years as it seeks funding and partnerships, the board rejected several alternatives.

    Initially, the board was slated to vote on one of three options for the structure. One would have razed the building and returned the peak to a more natural state at a cost of $640,000. Another involved chopping it down to a foundation and a wall, with an open-air visitor center, for $817,000. The third option, preferred by those who see it as a valuable Cold War relic and historic learning opportunity, would have shored up the building and preserved it as a historical site, which would have run $1.1 million, with $750,000 in maintenance costs over four decades.

    But on Friday, the district's staff report for the meeting revealed two new options: spending $414,000 on repairs or $74,500 on a fence, both in the name of public safety, that allows the tower to remain for five years as funding is raised.

    No concrete figure was given for how much money supporters should aim to raise in the allotted five years. One board member has said it would be $3 million to pay for initial repairs, and ongoing maintenance and security, while district general manager Steve Abbors said an initial $1 million would be needed followed by another $25,000 each year.

    Supporters already have an ally in former Oakland A's owner and Santa Clara developer Steve Schott, who stepped forward in July with an offer of $200,000 to help save the structure in hopes that the community will match his donation for a total of $400,000 -- approximately the difference in cost to tear down the building versus leaving it standing.

    There is good reason why the board preferred not to make a final decision, putting the onus on supporters to help save the tower. Choosing to demolish it would have put them at odds with veterans groups -- something that would have made it tough to pass a planned 2014 measure seeking additional tax funding.

    The air station, which opened in 1957, was used to scan the horizon for Soviet bombers before being rendered obsolete by satellites in 1980. It housed 120 Air Force personnel and their families at its peak, and included homes, a gym, garages and a bowling alley. The site was acquired in 1986 by the Los Altos-based open space district.
    With this interim decision, can the Sierra Azul master plan move forward now???

  28. #128
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    At the meeting, project manager Meredith Manning said the option chosen by the board would allow the public to get up close to the tower for the first time in decades.

    "The public has seen the structure from the Valley floor for a long time, but haven't been able to experience its shade, its size or put their hands on it," Manning said. "It would provide the opportunity to more fully develop the summit area, and for a short time at least, people could experience the tower."
    Does this mean we will be able to ride from LG to Demo during that 'short time' without having to dodge hilbillies with guns ?

  29. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHombre View Post
    Does this mean we will be able to ride from LG to Demo during that 'short time' without having to dodge hilbillies with guns ?
    I don't think so. Even if they open the road to the top, there would need to be other open connections to get down the south side and on to Demo.

  30. #130
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    Looks like the box will stay atop the mountain at least until 2015.
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  31. #131
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    That Damn Tram...

    ...is an idea that won't go away. Today's Murky News has a "letter to the editor" from a Michael Ward of Sunnyvale revisiting the idea:

    "Tram to Mount Um peak would be perfect
    Mount Umunhum could be a perfect combination of family picnic destination, tourist attraction, biker paradise and/or museum. This beautiful peak area has spectacular views and multiple roads leading to it. It would be a biker's paradise, and since biking is such a popular form of recreation and physical fitness for all Americans, this would be a great attraction for that segment of our population. But as a great tourist/local attraction the roads would likely become congested. The solution might be a tram. Tram fees could be used for park maintenance and/or an entrance fee by road or tram could be charged."


    This pretty much mirrors a letter that I got published a couple of years ago; so somebody at the MN must think it has merit. I like the way that Ward emphasizes "biker's paradise".

    My original notion would be to have an aerial tramway all the way from the valley floor (New Almaden or Almaden Quicksilver) but perhaps a shorter run from say Bald Mountain (or Woods Road?) would be a better talking point for starters.
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  32. #132
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    The area is already a “biker’s paradise” without a tram. In fact, I’m riding there in about an hour.
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    Agreed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker View Post
    The area is already a “biker’s paradise” without a tram.
    ...but I see it more of a Heaven and Hell. Much of the latter for us mere mortals.

    But think about it; take the tram to the top (having had breakfast in the Tramway Station Cafe); then the dirt road rollers to Loma Prieta; then the DH drop to Demo; then do Demo to one's heart's desires; then a final climb to Nisene; then another dirt road descent nearly all the way to Aptos; then wine (beer) and dine at your favorite seaside restaurant while the sun sets; then shuttle via bus back to the Silly-con Valley. Who wouldn't want to do this at least a couple times a year!?!?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    ...but I see it more of a Heaven and Hell. Much of the latter for us mere mortals.

    But think about it; take the tram to the top (having had breakfast in the Tramway Station Cafe); then the dirt road rollers to Loma Prieta; then the DH drop to Demo; then do Demo to one's heart's desires; then a final climb to Nisene; then another dirt road descent nearly all the way to Aptos; then wine (beer) and dine at your favorite seaside restaurant while the sun sets; then shuttle via bus back to the Silly-con Valley. Who wouldn't want to do this at least a couple times a year!?!?
    Well, OK, if you have to go and drop the term “Demo” into the mix, I suppose it’d be cool.
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  35. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    It’s now Fall and they decided to wait 5 more years to decide…

    Mount Umunhum radar tower will stay standing -- at least for five years - San Jose Mercury News



    With this interim decision, can the Sierra Azul master plan move forward now???


    All of our children's children will be dead by the time Midpen does anything with any of its properties.

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    You mean does anything other than sending out rangers with radar guns...

  37. #137
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    Here you can see some of the alternative ideas that were created for the area as a result of a series planning meetings with the public back in 2006. This process was delayed long ago in order to address Mt Umunhum specifically, So who knows where any of this stands now.


    Openspace.org - Plans and Projects - Open Space Planning - Grabtown Gulch Trail Repair + Bridge

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    Mount Umunhum: Big step in opening former Silicon Valley military base to public

    The Board vote on the final plan is tomorrow evening. The scope is limited to just the peak of Mt Umunhum, not the whole Sierra Azul OSP, and excludes a decision on The Cube.

    August 26, 2015 Special and Regular Board Meeting

    http://www.openspace.org/sites/defau...6.R-15-126.pdf

    Mount Umunhum: Big step in opening former Silicon Valley military base to public

    By Paul Rogers
    Posted: 08/25/2015 06:33:39 AM PDT Updated: about 3 hours ago © San Jose Mercury News





    SAN JOSE -- Marking a key milestone in the long effort toward creating a new mountaintop park overlooking Silicon Valley, a Bay Area open space agency on Wednesday is scheduled to vote on final plans for public access on the summit of Mount Umunhum, a former Cold War radar station in the hills south of San Jose.

    The board of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is expected to approve a $4.2 million plan for parking, trails, restrooms, interpretive signs and other features on the top of the mountain; a grand opening for the public is scheduled for October 2016.

    "It's huge. This is a very important point," said Steve Abbors, general manager of the open space district. "Here's the final design, off we go. Next we'll build it."

    Yet one of the project's biggest -- and most controversial -- issues will not be decided when the board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district's offices in Los Altos: the fate of the five-story concrete radar tower on top of the mountain, known as "The Cube."

    That structure, visible from across Santa Clara County, will remain in limbo for two more years. In 2012, the district proposed tearing it down but gave historic preservationists until October 2017 to raise $1.2 million if they wanted to shore it up and keep it standing.

    "I'm optimistic that we will reach the target, and we will preserve the tower," said Sam Drake, president of the Umunhum Conservancy, a nonprofit group in San Jose that has so far raised $300,000 toward the goal.

    "But like most things in life, it will probably get done at the deadline," he said. "I'm confident the community will band together to preserve this historic site."

    The 3,486-foot Mount Umunhum, whose name comes from the Ohlone Indian word for hummingbird, towers above South San Jose and Los Gatos on the chaparral ridges between Lexington Reservoir and Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

    From 1957 to 1980, the Almaden Air Force Station operated on its summit, protecting the West Coast. Gazing at screens in dark rooms 24 hours a day, Air Force technicians scanned the skies for Soviet bombers.

    The based closed after satellites made the radar and its giant orange antennae dish obsolete. In 1986, the open space district purchased the summit for $260,000. The district has since purchased more than 18,000 acres on the mountain's slopes, some of which are open for hiking and biking, and called it Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.

    The mountaintop, which has 360-degree panoramic views of Monterey Bay, San Francisco Bay, the Diablo Range and downtown San Jose, has been off-limits to the general public for more than 50 years.

    The site sat vacant and buildings decayed for more than two decades before U.S. Reps. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, secured $3.2 million in 2009 to clean it up. That money funded the removal of lead paint, PCBs and other toxic chemicals, along with the demolition of all 88 derelict buildings.

    Demolition work finished last year. Working with a $1 million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, the open space agency built a new parking area halfway up Mount Umunhum Road at Bald Mountain for 30 cars and is nearing completion on a 4.5-mile trail for hikers, mountain bikes and horses that will link the summit and the Bald Mountain Area.

    Abbors said ground will be broken early next summer on the summit project and on repaving the 5-mile road so the public can drive to the top. When finished, the entire project is on schedule to come in slightly under its $13 million budget, he said.

    Completing work at the summit will provide the South Bay with an accessible public peak on par with Marin's Mount Tamalpais, Mount Diablo in the East Bay or Mount Hamilton, supporters say.

    "When you are at the summit there, it is extraordinary," said Bern Smith, South Bay trail director of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. "It's hard not to be amazed by how expansive it feels. On a clear day, you can see into the High Sierra through a notch in the Hamilton Range -- that's 150 miles away -- and you can see portions of 23 different counties. It's really something."

    Sean McKenna, president of Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers, a nonprofit group in Campbell, said he hopes the opening of the summit next year will lead to more trails in Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve being opened, linking the area with large chunks of public land in Santa Cruz County, including the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park and the Soquel Demonstration Forest.

    "Hikers have the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail," he said. "But you can't bike to the ocean from here on trails. We really see this as a first step to getting a coastal connection."

  39. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35 View Post
    The Board vote on the final plan is tomorrow evening. The scope is limited to just the peak of Mt Umunhum, not the whole Sierra Azul OSP, and excludes a decision on The Cube.

    August 26, 2015 Special and Regular Board Meeting

    http://www.openspace.org/sites/defau...6.R-15-126.pdf

    Mount Umunhum: Big step in opening former Silicon Valley military base to public


    "Hikers have the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail," he said. "But you can't bike to the ocean from here on trails. We really see this as a first step to getting a coastal connection."
    I'm glad the SVMB got the last line in Rogers' article; it makes it stand out.
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  40. #140
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    Mount Umunhum: Open space district plans eminent domain to secure public access

    http://www.mercurynews.com/science/c...eminent-domain

    By Paul Rogers progers@mercurynews.com
    Posted: 12/07/2015 06:17:13 PM PST

    Intensifying efforts to open to the public the summit of Mount Umunhum, a former Air Force base that looms over Silicon Valley, a Bay Area open space agency plans to force two property owners to sell their land after years of disputes and battles.

    The move would mark the first time the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a public agency based in Los Altos, has used eminent domain in nearly two decades.

    "It is something that is a sensitive issue to a certain segment of the public," said Steve Abbors, general manager of the district, whose board is scheduled to vote on the issue Wednesday. "We're well aware of that. We've gone through every possible iteration of a deal that we could put together to do this. But this is the only thing we have left. We've tried everything else."

    The last time the open space district forced property owners to sell their land in 1998, it drew controversy for proposing, and later dropping, a plan to pressure nine elderly nuns in the Russian Orthodox Convent of Our Lady of Vladimir to sell 284 acres they owned along Skyline Boulevard in San Mateo County.

    The Mount Umunhum summit, which has panoramic views of Monterey Bay, San Francisco Bay, the Diablo Range and downtown San Jose, has been off-limits to the general public for more than 50 years.

    The district is proposing to acquire a 40-foot-wide strip of land running along about 1.5 miles of Mount Umunhum Road in the hills near Los Gatos from the McQueen family, which has owned it for roughly 60 years. The agency also is proposing to forcibly purchase a public easement over a 200-yard-long section of the same road that crosses property owned by Mike Rossetta, of Los Gatos, and his brother, Leonard Rossetta, along with 19 other acres that the Rossettas own.

    District officials -- who say they have negotiated with the owners for three years without luck -- propose to pay the McQueens $380,000 and the Rossettas $452,225.

    If they move forward with eminent domain, as expected, and the owners dispute the offers, a court will decide the sale price.

    Scott McQueen, a former Boy Scout troop leader whose family owns about 500 acres around the summit, said Monday that he is not opposed to selling his section of the road and that he supports the public driving to the summit.

    But he expressed concern about trespassing, vandalism, fires and other mischief. Video cameras he has posted at a locked gate on his property near the summit have recorded 373 trespassers this year alone, he said. The district needs to commit to more security, including maintaining video cameras and having daily and nightly ranger patrols, he said.

    "I know it's going to be open. It's going to be beautiful. I just want them to be a responsible neighbor," he said.

    McQueen's father, Loren "Mac" McQueen, who died in 2007, was a World War II veteran who learned about radio technology in Europe and later returned to California to buy the tops of several mountain peaks, including Mount Umunhum, around 1950. He built a business, Communication & Control Inc., based in Campbell, that rents out space in secure buildings on the peaks to radio stations, law enforcement agencies and other organizations needing a high vantage point for their transmitters.

    The other property owner, Mike Rosetta, 62, bought his remote 28-acre parcel along Mount Umunhum Road in 1984. He tried to build a new home there but was denied by the county. A real estate investor, he lived for a while in a trailer on the property but left in 2000. In addition to a portion of the road, he owns 19 adjacent acres that has been in a boundary dispute with the district for years.

    Rosetta said Monday he would like to build horse stables or a campground.

    "They want to kill those ideas. They just want me gone," he said. "It's been a 30-year battle."

    District officials say if they do not acquire access to the entire 5-mile-long Mount Umunhum Road, of which they already own 70 percent, the public will not be able to drive to the summit, the site of the former Almaden Air Force Station. The district is working to complete a scenic new 20,000-acre open space preserve with sweeping mountaintop views -- a South Bay version of Mount Diablo or Mount Tamalpais -- with a public opening scheduled for next October.

    Since voters formed the agency in 1972, the district has completed more than 800 deals, acquiring 63,000 acres for the public. During that time, it has used eminent domain 14 times. Eminent domain -- permitted under the Fifth Amendment -- allows the government to purchase private property for public use without the owner's consent, but it must pay the appraised value.

    The 3,486-foot Mount Umunhum, whose name comes from the Ohlone Indian word for hummingbird, towers above South San Jose and Los Gatos on the chaparral ridges between Lexington Reservoir and Almaden Quicksilver County Park. From 1957 to 1980, the Almaden Air Force Station operated on its summit, looking for Soviet bombers.

    But the base closed after satellites made its radar obsolete. In 1986, the open space district purchased the summit, left it padlocked for years and in 2013 tore down its dilapidated buildings, leaving only the distinctive concrete radar tower building.

    Over the past 30 years, the district has purchased more than 18,000 acres on the mountain's slopes, some of which are open for hiking and biking, and called it Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. But opening the summit would be a landmark for the agency.

    "It's the biggest project we've ever really attempted. It's opening a mountain," said Abbors. "Every time I go up there, I feel like I'm in the Sierra foothills, but then you say, 'Wow, there's the ocean.' And you can see Silicon Valley from an entirely different perspective. It's going to be a fascinating place to go."

    Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at Twitter.com/PaulRogersSJMN.

  41. #141
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    Thanks for the update. That needs to be opened up.

    Those property owners are WHACKO! They hassle every cyclist that goes up there. They basically want to block off the whole mountain.

    One time, I took my road bike there near the gate. A nearby property owner saw me and walked his pitbulls beside me while he drove on his pickup truck.

    What is the status of the 'cube' building anyway? Staying up or torn down?
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  42. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    What is the status of the 'cube' building anyway? Staying up or torn down?
    That will be decided Fall 2017.

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    MidPen wants the Cube gone in the worst way; the costs of "keeping it" just keep going up.

    RE the Umunhum access what's interesting here is that not too long ago they had the position "We'll never resort to eminent domain to acquire property" so it means that there's some flexibility after all.

    Could go either way; 30 mph speed limit and night riding becomes OK at MidPen -or- No bikes nowhere. Ever.
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    Anyone know if there is a provision in this plan to open the road all the way to Soda Springs on the Lexington side or are they just working on up and back right now?

  45. #145
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    I don't care who does what with the top. I just want to be on top of the damn mountain.

  46. #146
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    My understanding is that the new Mt Umunhum bike trail to the summit is planned be open next fall 2016, per the post by Skyline35 above (8/25/15) and other public announcements. So if the road to the summit is still closed, only bikers and hikers can get to the top?

    Per Skyline35's previous post, some want to have the cube torn down so as to restore the natural mountain top. Others see the cube as a south bay landmark to be saved. MidPen wants to tear down the cube as demolition is the fastest and lowest cost approach. A deal was finally made where salvation of the cube depends on the public raising enough money for restoration by October 2017. The Umunhum Conservancy now has only about 20% of the $1.5M needed. But there's a lot of time left, and many potential contributors may be waiting to see if others come to the table first.

    The property owners on the mountain top want to leverage their ownership of land over short portions the road so as to block off the entire mountain top for themselves. MidPen only wants "to acquire a 40-foot-wide strip of land running along about 1.5 miles of Mount Umunhum Road", to complete the 5 mile stretch. MidPen doesn't want to acquire these land owner's property. Rather, they just want to open the road to provide public access to the property MidPen already owns. This is a clear case for eminent domain and/or easements, in which access to an existing road is needed to reach a land locked property, and I suspect MidPen will win. It looks like MidPen tried hard not to go this route, but the landowners have spent three years giving MidPen the run around.

    I don't see plans to open Mt Umunhum road any further past the peak. And I don't think MidPen owns much of that land further down the road either. OTOH, MidPen now owns the large property on the back side of Mt Umunhum, and could eventually make new trails down to the public roads, which would allow mountain biking all the way to Demo and then the shore via Nicene Marks. These trail proposals was discussed at some of the meetings I attended years ago. (There were even proposals for creation of parallel trails for bikes and horses, for instance.) But these trails were not included in the current round of proposals for the prop AA funding. So although that access route is a definite possibility, since MidPen now owns the land to make it possible and has discussed such trails at their meetings, it'll likely be a decade or two away, after all the other Prop AA improvements take their current attention.
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  47. #147
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    Mount Umunhum: Open space agency votes to use eminent domain...

    ...to acquire road to top of former Air Force base

    http://www.mercurynews.com/science/c...es-use-eminent

    By Paul Rogers progers@mercurynews.com
    Posted: 12/11/2015 05:21:46 AM PST

    A Bay Area open space district, as expected, has voted to use eminent domain for the first time in nearly 20 years to acquire two pieces of land it needs to open public access to the top of Mount Umunhum, a former Air Force base in the hills south of San Jose.

    By a 7-0 vote, the board of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District decided Wednesday night to file paperwork in court to forcibly acquire a 40-foot-wide strip of land running along about 1.5 miles of Mount Umunhum Road in the hills near Los Gatos from the McQueen family, which has owned it for roughly 60 years.

    The agency also decided to forcibly purchase a public easement over a 200-yard-long section of the same road that crosses property owned by Mike Rossetta, of Los Gatos, and his brother, Leonard Rossetta, along with 19 other adjacent acres that the Rossettas own.

    District officials -- who say they have negotiated with the owners for three years without luck -- propose to pay the McQueens $380,000, and the Rossettas $452,225. Under the law, if either disputes the district's appraised value, they can hire their own appraiser and take the case to a judge and jury to decide the sale price.

    The 3,486-foot Mount Umunhum was home to the Almaden Air Force Station from 1957 to 1980. Radar crews operated on its summit, looking for Soviet bombers. But the base closed after satellites made its radar obsolete. In 1986, the open space district purchased the summit, left it padlocked for years and in 2013 tore down its dilapidated buildings, leaving only the distinctive concrete radar tower building.

    The district, a public agency based in Los Altos, plans to open the summit to the public next October. It says the mountain, where it has purchased 18,000 acres over the past 30 years, could be a landmark for horse riders, bicyclists and hikers, similar to Mount Tamalpais or Mount Diablo.

    Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at Twitter.com/PaulRogersSJMN.

  48. #148
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    Great news on the purchase. I agree with Midpen here for a change.

    These a-holes are trying to close off access to a significant peak and landmark, just like that billionaire who tried to close off Martin's Beach since he owned the access road.

    This is happening in the US over and over and it needs to stop.
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    They need money to save the cube. Mid Pen only understands "Open Space" but many folks disagree. Umunhum Conservancy | Dedicated to preserving and restoring Mt. Umunhum and its historic Radar Tower I've done my 2015 deductible donation!

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    Persistence pays off

    Like it or not MidPen finally acquiesced and gave unanimous approvel to preserving the "Cube".

    Today's Murky News: mt-umunhum-board-approves-plan-keep-cube

    I'm not getting my tram to the top but at least MidPen didn't get their way. Too bad some of the other parts of the base couldn't have been saved also.
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  51. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    Like it or not MidPen finally acquiesced and gave unanimous approvel to preserving the "Cube".

    Today's Murky News: mt-umunhum-board-approves-plan-keep-cube

    I'm not getting my tram to the top but at least MidPen didn't get their way. Too bad some of the other parts of the base couldn't have been saved also.
    wow! a bit of good news in this. I can't wait to go up there and see it.

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    Here is something of interest

    I finally had a chat with my good friend/high school buddy Craig Gresham. He told me his grandfather/Gresham Construction "cut" the first road to the cube and thought if was maybe before he was born in 1954. Craig lives in Poulsbo Wa. and sold his company Gresham well drilling to his son. i wonder if there are any records of this? Originally I thought he did all the fire trails but Craig said no just to the cube site.
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  53. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by rho View Post
    wow! a bit of good news in this. I can't wait to go up there and see it.
    If I heard correctly from a highly-placed MidPen staffer I met at a Coe outing the trail to the top is supposed to open this October 28th. He said they still needed to finish some bridges and are still waiting on some approvals.

    So that's a "maybe" date.
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  54. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    If I heard correctly from a highly-placed MidPen staffer I met at a Coe outing the trail to the top is supposed to open this October 28th. He said they still needed to finish some bridges and are still waiting on some approvals.

    So that's a "maybe" date.
    Even being a "maybe" date, I'm looking forward to it, more so as its in my backyard. Do you have any details on the alignment of the trail?

  55. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by rho View Post
    Even being a "maybe" date, I'm looking forward to it, more so as its in my backyard. Do you have any details on the alignment of the trail?
    Too bad we couldn't extend Kennedy/Woods intersection over the edge down into the valley then a straight up with a zig zag hairpin switchback mother of all climbs to the top/old Air force base. Hikers/Bikers only trail?
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  56. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by rho View Post
    Even being a "maybe" date, I'm looking forward to it, more so as its in my backyard. Do you have any details on the alignment of the trail?
    The trail climbs up along a contour-following path on the north side of Mt. Umunhum Rd. It will start from the existing Barlow Rd. trail entrance off Mt Umunhum Road.

    I found a map of the new trail on page 3 of this MidPen PDF.

    I expect the views from that trail will be spectacular.
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    The Prez of the Umunhum Conservancy is a friend of mine, and, yes, the opening date is tentative. I also sent a note to Ancient Rascal - They would love to have any historical photos of the area, if possible. I know many of the USAF veterans that used to work there have been active in this preservation process and have provided a few pictures of the base. Several of them spoke a few months ago at the meeting of the Historical Commission (as did I). It's great to see that the tower was preserved, despite the best efforts of MidPen.

  58. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by karld View Post
    The Prez of the Umunhum Conservancy is a friend of mine, and, yes, the opening date is tentative. I also sent a note to Ancient Rascal - They would love to have any historical photos of the area, if possible. I know many of the USAF veterans that used to work there have been active in this preservation process and have provided a few pictures of the base. Several of them spoke a few months ago at the meeting of the Historical Commission (as did I). It's great to see that the tower was preserved, despite the best efforts of MidPen.
    Just talked with Craig and he's on the road 20 miles from home in Poulsbo Wa. Grandpa Gresham has passed. He does not know of any pics but will check with his grandmother soon. She did have pics of the family, etc. so who knows. I told him how interested some folks were on anything to do with the early days out there.
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    Would the tower only be accessible (by pavement) via Hicks/Umunhum Rd? Any possibility that there will be an opening from Soda Springs Rd?

  60. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by nordy643 View Post
    Would the tower only be accessible (by pavement) via Hicks/Umunhum Rd? Any possibility that there will be an opening from Soda Springs Rd?
    Yes there''ll be a public road to the peak, but it's currently owned by private landowners, and MidPen is going the legal route of Eminent Domain to get that access.

    Lots of patchworks of private land further on make going further down the road difficult. But, MidPen owns the back side of Mt. Umunhum now, and could make trails down that way all the way to Highland and Demo.

    Read back about a dozen posts for more information.
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  61. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by rho View Post
    Even being a "maybe" date, I'm looking forward to it, more so as its in my backyard. Do you have any details on the alignment of the trail?
    Google Earth has satellite imagery from April 5th and the trail (mostly) can be seen. A zillion switchbacks unlike what the conceptual plans show. Also it looks like it may connect with the main road higher up than Barlow; there are 2 road cuts going over to it. (Maybe just for construction access though)
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  62. #162
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    Great news on new trail

    Just wanted to remind folks who may park cars at the trailhead / potty of hicks and woods that break ins are common there and you can look at the ground and see broken glass everywhere. Not sure where parking to access the new trail will be and if things have changed in the potty lot? It has been a few years since I have parked there.
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  63. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient rascal View Post
    Just wanted to remind folks who may park cars at the trailhead / potty of hicks and woods that break ins are common there and you can look at the ground and see broken glass everywhere. Not sure where parking to access the new trail will be and if things have changed in the potty lot? It has been a few years since I have parked there.
    They've got a new lot up where Bald Mountain Trail takes off; I think about 20 parking spaces and a fancy outhouse.

    When I used to park&ride El Sombroso I'd use the AQS Woods Road lot across Hicks; seems even less secure than the Umunhum/Hicks lot but I never had any trouble.
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  64. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by pliebenberg View Post
    They've got a new lot up where Bald Mountain Trail takes off; I think about 20 parking spaces and a fancy outhouse.

    When I used to park&ride El Sombroso I'd use the AQS Woods Road lot across Hicks; seems even less secure than the Umunhum/Hicks lot but I never had any trouble.
    More great news! Thanks! ... It was a ranger who told me also that it was remote and not a good place to park but I saw the glass on the ground because not much gets past me besides technology and cleanliness ! :-)
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  65. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient rascal View Post
    Just wanted to remind folks who may park cars at the trailhead / potty of hicks and woods that break ins are common there and you can look at the ground and see broken glass everywhere. Not sure where parking to access the new trail will be and if things have changed in the potty lot? It has been a few years since I have parked there.
    Parking access for you is at Kennedy trailhead!

  66. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by form49b View Post
    Parking access for you is at Kennedy trailhead!
    Ha ha ... When riding with LG man I think we park at Lexington way more. I'm still after the "off season 20/40 challenge" so I suppose I'm guilty as charged! Don't you still owe on that challenge also?
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  67. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient rascal View Post
    Ha ha ... When riding with LG man I think we park at Lexington way more. I'm still after the "off season 20/40 challenge" so I suppose I'm guilty as charged! Don't you still owe on that challenge also?
    Alas, no sub-40 for me this year, and never a 20. I recently had a sub-30 El Sereno so I think I could still do the Kennedy 40. Time's not on my side for 20.

    I'm looking forward to going up Umunhum like a snail, though.

  68. #168
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    I was in the area so I thought I'd have a look at the new lot:


    Almost half-full and the summit's not even open for business. Lots of lookie-lou's like me out for a drive in the country. Nice day.

    The lot has an automatic gate (solar powered) so my guess is that it'll be on a timer or remote control to lock in scofflaw bikers.

    There are 3 legit (marked) parking spots along Umunhum Rd just north of the lot.

    The new trail and all its switchbacks are hardly visible from this location (although in the morning sun they may be more apparent).
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  69. #169
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    October of what year?

    The "maybe October" has slipped:

    mount-umunhum-plan-open-scenic-mountaintop-public-delayed

    Over budget. Behind schedule. Good thing "we" voted them an extra $300M to cover things as such.

    Tidbits:

    "Meanwhile, the district has another challenge. Crews were finishing work on a 4-mile hiking trail to the summit when officials from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said district officials had not obtained streambed alteration permits to install three bridges over creeks. Those permits are now in process but may not be done until after October."

    "The October grand opening was delayed after district officials sought construction bids to build overlooks, parking, restrooms, interpretive signs and other amenities."

    "Although they contacted 30 companies and six toured the site, only one entered a formal bid, and at $7.8 million, it was considerably higher than the $5.47 million the district estimated in March."

    "A year ago, the total cost estimate for the job was $13 million. Now it is $19.5 million, most of which will be covered by Measure AA, a $300 million bond for open space approved by voters in 2014."
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  70. #170
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    Thanks Paul for the link to the news report. The new estimate is 6 months delay until the spring of 2017.

    And some here previously called the Measure AA cost estimates highly bloated. Now they find it difficult to get any contractor to bid at any price. And the only one willing to do the work is 50% higher than estimated! Anyone have a contracting company?

    Delays are noted for the contracting, as well as the trail permits (which is an embarrassing oversight for an agency like MidPen). But as for delays, I was more worried about public access. Did MidPen ever win the Imminent Domain lawsuit to get the Mt. Umunhum road opened?
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  71. #171
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    Commercial Construction is booming in the bay area right now. There are bigger fish to fry for contractors from private sector owners where there is less bureaucratic red tape and fewer hoops to jump through.

    If one were to go through the bid documents and get rid of the "hoops" like prevailing wage, SBE , DBE, local hire clauses, etc., the price would go down and you would have more competition.

    Government micro-management and trying to build a utopia by putting conditions on how the work is to be done = higher prices.

  72. #172
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    Mount Umunhum Road Closure | Updates and News

    Starting Sept. 12 they'll close Umunhum Road, opening only on weekends and then only to Bald Mountain parking, no one allowed above there.

    Also closing for the duration is Barlow Road trail, no access until they complete construction next summer.

    I haven't ridden either, so looks like I'll be taking both the road bike and the mountain bike out that way before it all changes.

  73. #173
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    The pavement's pretty beat up. Not a problem on the way up but makes the descent more challenging.

  74. #174
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    nm

    nm ?
    Last edited by gonzo; 03-31-2017 at 07:26 AM.

  75. #175
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    Grand Opening Weekend - September 16 & 17

    Don’t miss this historic weekend and help create Mount Umunhum’s next chapter as one of the Bay Area’s great publicly-accessible peaks.

    More info:
    Mount Umunhum | Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

  76. #176
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    So looking forward to getting up there. Been living under that mountain for 47 years!

  77. #177
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    Will it actually happen on time this time? I cannot wait for the influx in tissues littering the trails from casual “hikers”.
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  78. #178
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    We got close to the box

    Mt. Um ... like it was yesterday! Mt.Umunhum-1009111238a.jpg Hello Moto ... Barlow
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  79. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient rascal View Post
    Mt. Um ... like it was yesterday! Hello Moto ... Barlow
    I'm impressed you climbed that Mt Um road on single speeds.

    Did you go back to Hicks or up over El Sombroso on Woods with that horrendous 18% grade?
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  80. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    I'm impressed you climbed that Mt Um road on single speeds.

    Did you go back to Hicks or up over El Sombroso on Woods with that horrendous 18% grade?
    Won't soon forget this first meeting and first ride with LP. We started at Kennedy trailhead. Up Kennedy across the ridge down Woods up Barlow back down Barlow then LP exited out Hicks to his home area and I went back up woods across the ridge and down Kennedy back to the truck. I used to tease him about not escorting me back to my car. Looks like I was running 32x19 as the cog looks not to be a surly. I now have 19t-22t to use. We were singing and swearing to beat the band that day!Mt.Umunhum-1009111238a.jpg LP will want to see this pic again! ... 32X19t titanium cog
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  81. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient rascal View Post
    Won't soon forget this first meeting and first ride with LP. We started at Kennedy trailhead. Up Kennedy across the ridge down Woods up Barlow back down Barlow then LP exited out Hicks to his home area and I went back up woods across the ridge and down Kennedy back to the truck. I used to tease him about not escorting me back to my car. Looks like I was running 32x19 as the cog looks not to be a surly. I now have 19t-22t to use. We were singing and swearing to beat the band that day! ... 32X19t titanium cog
    That route is ultra nasty. The ride up Barlow is even steeper than the 18% up Woods to El Sombroso! And then... you squared the nastiness by riding single speed!
    I already knew LP was an extreme rider, besides being a wild character. Now you too?
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  82. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    That route is ultra nasty. The ride up Barlow is even steeper than the 18% up Woods to El Sombroso! And then... you squared the nastiness by riding single speed!
    I already knew LP was an extreme rider, besides being a wild character. Now you too?
    Thanks for the Kudos Larry from both of us! I'm not up to that kind of thing anymore but still trying to hang on to most of what I had. Reminds me of a song ... https://video.search.yahoo.com/searc...f&action=click
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  83. #183
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    Mount Umunhum: Former mountain-top military base opens this week to public

    New park opens on scenic mountaintop near San Jose

    By Paul Rogers | progers@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group
    PUBLISHED: September 11, 2017 at 3:16 pm | UPDATED: September 11, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Thirty-seven years after the U.S. Air Force shut down a mountain-top radar station in the hills south of San Jose that scanned the skies for Soviet bombers during the Cold War, the summit of Mount Umunhum is finally opening to the public this week as a new park, with stunning views of San Francisco Bay, Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay.

    The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a public agency that owns the 3,486-foot peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains east of Los Gatos, spent $25 million over eight years on the project.

    Supporters say the new summit, which visitors will be able to drive to free of charge, could instantly become a must-experience landmark — the South Bay’s version of Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County or Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.

    “I’m so pleased we got to do this,” said Steve Abbors, general manager of the district. “When the public gets up there they can enjoy the views, breathe the clean air, walk on some interesting trails and learn about the history of the mountain, which goes back 10,000 years.”

    More recently, the drama over Mount Umunhum has centered on the fate of its five-story concrete radar building, known as the Cube, as veterans and preservation groups successfully fought the district’s earlier plans to demolish it.

    The summit will open to the general public starting Monday morning, Sept. 18, at sunrise. It is reachable by driving up Mount Umunhum Road, off Hicks Road in Los Gatos.

    Two days earlier, on Saturday, an invitation-only VIP event will feature political leaders, along with Maj. Charles Skinner, the last commander of the Air Force station from 1978 to 1980. And on Sunday, about 900 people will get a first chance to visit at a reservation-only event that is now full.

    “I hope that as our Bay Area gets busier, people can say this is a place to get away,” Abbors said, looking out over the Santa Clara Valley on Monday. “It’s much quieter than the city.”

    The new facilities, built by D-Line Constructors of Oakland, include a freshly paved road with new guardrails and culverts up the 5-mile drive to the summit, replacing a cracked, potholed route that dated back to the 1970s. There also are restrooms, a parking lot for 53 cars, hiking trails, two shelters with interpretive panels featuring information about the Air Force, Ohlone Indians, other peaks in the Bay Area, and plants and animals that live on the mountain. The peak will be the highest point on the Bay Area Ridge Trail, a 550-mile loop that runs across the hills and ridges of the nine Bay Area counties.

    Dogs are not allowed at the summit, and visitors must bring their own water.

    The mountain’s name, pronounced “Um-un-um,” comes from the Ohlone Indian word for hummingbird. Although an archaeological study the district commissioned in 2010 found no artifacts or Indian remains on the summit, the site is prominent in Ohlone stories, and the district constructed a Native American ceremonial ring as part of the upgrades.

    Once a quiet site for cattle grazing and olive growing, from 1957 to 1980, the summit was the site of the former Almaden Air Force Station. At its peak, 120 Air Force personnel and their families lived at the station, which included homes, a gym, a swimming pool, garages and even a bowling alley. The base was part of an early warning radar system watching for Soviet bombers that could have attacked the West Coast.

    “They were doing a job that was vital to the welfare of this area,”said Basim Jaber, a San Jose historian who has studied Mount Umunhum’s history for years. “We were a sitting target. When we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, we realized that could happen to us. These stations were our first line of defense.”

    After the station’s technology was made obsolete by satellites, the federal government sold the property to the open space district in 1986 for $260,000.

    San Jose State University studied the site as a potential retreat center. But rebirth stalled. The open space district insisted that the Defense Department pay to demolish and haul away the old buildings. But the Pentagon did little. As a result, the summit remained padlocked, and off limits for 31 years. Its 88 buildings became a crumbling ghost town contaminated with asbestos and lead paint.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, bicyclists were regularly chased off Mount Umunhum Road by angry locals, occasionally brandishing shotguns.

    The district, which is based in Los Altos, steadily bought up land around the mountain. It now owns roughly 18,000 acres in an area it calls Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. But the summit remained closed, in part due to a feud between former open space General Manager Craig Britton and Loren “Mac” McQueen, whose family owns several hundred acres near the summit. But Britton retired in 2008 and McQueen died in 2007.

    When Abbors became general manager of the district, he made cleaning up the site a priority. Former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, secured $3.2 million from Congress in 2009, which paid for the hazardous materials to be removed and the buildings demolished.

    The district’s original estimate to clean and restore the summit was $11 million in 2009. But high bids during the Bay Area construction boom, soaking winter weather last year and other factors caused the price tag to rise to $25 million. Most of the money, about $17 million, came from Measure AA, a $300 million bond that voters passed in 2014 to fund the Mount Umunhum work and 24 other projects around the district.

    As the grand opening looms, excitement is measured by some concern about crowds, vandalism or fire risk. Neighbors want the district, which has hired two extra rangers and two maintenance people, to patrol regularly, and securely lock down access at night.

    “It’s amazing how much they’ve done,” said neighboring property owner Scott McQueen. “I think people will really enjoy it. Let’s see how the park can be opened, and how safety is maintained. It would be wonderful if the sheriff never has to go up there.”

  84. #184
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    I'll probably ride up from Los Gatos (Limekiln, Woods, Barlow, Mt. Um) on Sat. 9/23 if anyone is interested. 7:30-ish start.

    Though I seem to remember thinking I should never ride Barlow again.

  85. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry View Post
    That route is ultra nasty. The ride up Barlow is even steeper than the 18% up Woods to El Sombroso! And then... you squared the nastiness by riding single speed!
    I already knew LP was an extreme rider, besides being a wild character. Now you too?
    Ancient Rascal was the instigator. He double-dog-dared me to ride up Kennedy -> Woods -> Barlow -> top of Umunhum, and back all the way down again… all for a Pete’s gift card. I did it! I don’t remember if I did it on my singlespeed or not, but he’s surely responsible for me mainly riding singlespeed bikes.
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  86. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker View Post
    Ancient Rascal was the instigator. He double-dog-dared me to ride up Kennedy -> Woods -> Barlow -> top of Umunhum, and back all the way down again… all for a Pete’s gift card. I did it! I don’t remember if I did it on my singlespeed or not, but he’s surely responsible for me mainly riding singlespeed bikes.
    Hahahahahaha ... C'mon man ... I got to post up the pic from the ride again. When I saw you at the trailhead I thought oh crap ... I'm in deep chit now!
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  87. #187
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    That was back in 2011 if my memory serves me correctly.
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  88. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker View Post
    That was back in 2011 if my memory serves me correctly.
    You brought enough tools to repair a motor home? Pic of "tools" here ... Mt.Umunhum - Page 2- Mtbr.com There's your old SS Man!
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