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Thread: Mt.Umunhum

  1. #1
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    Mt.Umunhum

    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/nat...ng/ci_10639993

    Interesting article from the SJ Mercury News. It was a USAF station for 23 years. Our "open space" district has now owned it for 22, and it is still off limits. I wonder if we'll ever get legal access?

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    "In 1986, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a public agency based in Los Altos, purchased the summit for $260,000. But it has remained off limits because its 84 abandoned buildings are a crumbling ghost town contaminated with asbestos and lead paint. They must be demolished and hauled away. The district patrols the site, and trespassers can face fines of $300 or more.

    For 22 years the district has insisted that the Defense Department pay for a cleanup. But the Pentagon has done little, largely because the base is in a remote location, with little political pressure.

    "We want the Defense Department to clean it up as soon as possible so people can enjoy this inspiring place. This is one of the most scenic views in the Bay Area," said Rudy Jurgensen, a spokesman for the open space district."


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  3. #3
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    The people who worked there don't seem to have a problem, so let us up there (legally!)
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    Wow, interesting comment at the end of that article. Opening up the old AFB was only part of the problem Getting to it was the other, because the road crossed through private property. There were so many "no trespassing" signs painted on the road it was eerie going up there (not that I ever tried ). But now it sounds like the family may be willing to provide access. Maybe that would clear the way for access to some of the fireroads back there..
    Last edited by Dad Man Walking; 10-05-2008 at 08:05 PM.
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    If they ever (oh please!) opened the road to traffic, that could make my drive to Demo a little easier
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    I'd read up on this area a few years ago. There have been other articles, and a few blogs I'd found on the web. I knew about the property / access dispute, and that there were cleanup issues with the site.

    What's frustrating is that decades can go by with no apparent movement, and MROSD apparently just sitting on its hands. I understand that MROSD wants the Air Force to pay for clean up costs. And I understand that the access / property issue might require mediation or litigation. But none of that is going to happen without some action. It appears that Mr. Jaber has done more to move this forward with this news article than has happened in recent memory.

    MROSD could move this forward if it chose to prioritize it. Now that there seems to be a more relaxed attitude over road access, why not develop at least a limited schedule of public access? That would increase public awareness and help efforts to secure restoration funding.

    Cool photos from a 2006 outing to the site:
    http://www.jaber.net/umunhum/ReunionTour/default.htm

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    If I remember correctly, they said that the clean up costs are somewhere around $10M. That being said, they could fence off the problem areas/buildings and open the rest if they wanted to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    ...That being said, they could fence off the problem areas/buildings and open the rest if they wanted to.
    That's what I'm thinking. The approach right now seems to be sort of an "all or nothing" one. In fact, I looked at the MROSD web site, and all 3 options they are considering are a variation of keep it closed until all buildings are down, then build a trail to allow public hiking to the peak.

    http://openspace.org/plans_projects/...Alts_Table.pdf

    See item 31 in the above pdf.

    Asbestos and lead paint can both be mitigated by encapsulation; that is, paint over it or seal it in. Maybe some of the structures up there are salvageable or even useable, aside from the historical value.

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    Anyone remember when, at Christmas time, they would put lights on the tower in the shape of a star or a X-mas tree?

    Living down in Almaden not a day goes by when I don't look up at Umunhum. I've wanted to go to the top of that mountain for over 20 years. Hopefully they'll get it cleaned up and opened while I'm still young enough to get up there by my own power. i figure that's another 20+ years but at the rate MROSD is going I won't hold my breath.

    I have been on top of Loma Prieta before. Me and a buddy rode to the top 10-12 years ago. Pretty boring ride, we started at Mt Madona and just rode up the dirt roads all the way, but we did it mainly to say "we did it" , not for the ride itself. Loma is actually a bit higher than Umunhum and it's a weird perspective looking down onto the roof of Umunum's tower. The views from the top are unbelievable. You can see the entire coastline of the Monterey Bay, like one big white cresent stretching from Santa cruz to Monterey itself.

    What would be truly awesome is if they, MROSD or somebody, could get that entire ridge open to the pubic. From Los Gatos to the top of El Sombroso, then Umunhum, then Loma Prieta, and back again, would be an epic ride.
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    That whole area fascinates me. It is so close...but being so rugged, and tied up will all sorts of private property rights and access issues it is something that most of us will probably never get to experience. Sad state of affairs, since it's a massive wilderness area right on our back doorstep.

    It's so unfair that only the pot farmers and tweakers get to use it. And we all get squeezed into tiny little sections of it...little "McWilderness" parks with groomed flat trails (god forbid that a rock escape into the wild and threaten a a cub scout) and power-walkers strung out 4-wide on multi-use trails with their iPods cranked so they can't hear you coming up behind them, either politely or otherwise.

    --------Dis-engaging pent-up rant mode---------

    I gotta go now. Time to ride St. Joes (via the LGCT, of course). Thank goodness for my PUSH-tuned suspension, it's a godsend.

    Dad-man out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike E
    Anyone remember when, at Christmas time, they would put lights on the tower in the shape of a star or a X-mas tree?

    Living down in Almaden not a day goes by when I don't look up at Umunhum. I've wanted to go to the top of that mountain for over 20 years. Hopefully they'll get it cleaned up and opened while I'm still young enough to get up there by my own power. i figure that's another 20+ years but at the rate MROSD is going I won't hold my breath.

    I have been on top of Loma Prieta before. Me and a buddy rode to the top 10-12 years ago. Pretty boring ride, we started at Mt Madona and just rode up the dirt roads all the way, but we did it mainly to say "we did it" , not for the ride itself. Loma is actually a bit higher than Umunhum and it's a weird perspective looking down onto the roof of Umunum's tower. The views from the top are unbelievable. You can see the entire coastline of the Monterey Bay, like one big white cresent stretching from Santa cruz to Monterey itself.

    What would be truly awesome is if they, MROSD or somebody, could get that entire ridge open to the pubic. From Los Gatos to the top of El Sombroso, then Umunhum, then Loma Prieta, and back again, would be an epic ride.
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    Not that my opinion matters, why tear it down? Clean it up, encapsulate, cordon off, isn't it part of history now?

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    Preach it, brother!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dad Man Walking
    That whole area fascinates me. It is so close...but being so rugged, and tied up will all sorts of private property rights and access issues it is something that most of us will probably never get to experience. Sad state of affairs, since it's a massive wilderness area right on our back doorstep.

    It's so unfair that only the pot farmers and tweakers get to use it. And we all get squeezed into tiny little sections of it...little "McWilderness" parks with groomed flat trails (god forbid that a rock escape into the wild and threaten a a cub scout) and power-walkers strung out 4-wide on multi-use trails with their iPods cranked so they can't hear you coming up behind them, either politely or otherwise.
    I think of rants as more irrational. You sound pretty level headed to me. I share your frustration.

    And Hel Mot, I agree. The MROSD approach seems like a chess game, in which public access is a pawn to their goal to get the Air Force to pay for clean up costs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    ....The MROSD approach seems like a chess game, in which public access is a pawn to their goal to get the Air Force to pay for clean up costs.
    I just see it as a matter of priorities. if you take the long term view, what's a better use of $10M of our money...buying up more land (to hopefully preserve it for posterity, mountain-bike unfriendly board members notwithstanding), or cleaning up that mess?

    And as discouraging as it is, I can also understand why they would want to keep the area restricted until it is remediated. Any structures left up there unpatrolled would be vandalized and generally thrashed by beer-drinking youth (not that I have any credentials on that subject in my distant past ). Historical value of the big cube I can understand, but a bunch of barracks and crappy old buildings is just a problem waiting to happen, better to remediate it, even if it takes a while to get around to it.

    in the meantime, there are 1000's of other acres we don't have access to, I'd rather they focus on opening those up.
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    There are some potential gnar ski lines off the north face Been up there several times during crazy snow years to check them out. Never filled in enough the times I've been up there, but in theory.... paging Tyrone Shoelaces

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad Man Walking
    I just see it as a matter of priorities. if you take the long term view, what's a better use of $10M of our money...buying up more land (to hopefully preserve it for posterity, mountain-bike unfriendly board members notwithstanding), or cleaning up that mess?

    And as discouraging as it is, I can also understand why they would want to keep the area restricted until it is remediated. Any structures left up there unpatrolled would be vandalized and generally thrashed by beer-drinking youth (not that I have any credentials on that subject in my distant past ). Historical value of the big cube I can understand, but a bunch of barracks and crappy old buildings is just a problem waiting to happen, better to remediate it, even if it takes a while to get around to it.

    in the meantime, there are 1000's of other acres we don't have access to, I'd rather they focus on opening those up.
    Dad Man,

    So how was your ride last night? I had a pretty nice one. I'm over in Santa Cruz. It was warm on the climbs, kind of damp and cool in the trees.

    Yeah, I can understand the spending priorities as well. And I agree that MROSD needs to open up more acreage. Whether this area or others that they own, so much time goes by. After a while, most folks just give up on an area.

    But I disagree on the level of restriction, which is pretty much absolutely off limits. While continuing to push for clean up funds from the federal gov't, MROSD could at least open the top for human powered access, even if on a limited but scheduled basis. Fence off the hazardous buildings. It's my experience that "beer drinking youthful vandalism" tends to be inversely proportional to hiking distance from the ice chest and the motor vehicle hauling it.

    Aside from the cube, I don't know whether any of the buildings up top are worth saving. I don't care much, one way or another; I just think it is worth considering. There might be something in good enough shape to be a visitor center or hiking hut or caretaker shelter.

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    King of Mt. Umunhum is dead

    a little OT - but a recent update from Ray Hosler on a different Umunhum thread broke the news that Loren McQueen (famed 'git offa my land!' grump) is now dead:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...66078#poststop

    maybe the descendants will be a little more open to allowing the right of access to our land? then again, maybe not!

    King of Mt. Um is dead
    Last edited by feetsnofail; 10-07-2008 at 12:11 PM.
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    Times change...

    Quote Originally Posted by feetsnofail
    a little OT - but a recent update from Ray Hosler on a different Umunhum thread broke the news that Loren McQueen (famed 'git offa my land!' grump) is now dead:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...66078#poststop

    maybe the descendants will be a little more open to allowing the right of access to our land? then again, maybe not!

    King of Mt. Um is dead
    There was this quote in the recent SJ Mercury News article:

    On Saturday, McQueen's son, Scott, said he supports allowing the public to drive to the top, and likes ideas such as stargazing programs and a visitor center.

    "Times are different," he said. "If the open space district keeps the road safe, I don't mind."

    Seems to me there's at least a glimmer of hope there. I don't think MROSD would open the road to unlimited private autos, nor do I think that would be desirable. But maybe the district would open the road to cyclists, hikers, and maybe a courtesy shuttle for those who don't have the legs to get to the top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Dad Man,

    So how was your ride last night? I had a pretty nice one. I'm over in Santa Cruz. It was warm on the climbs, kind of damp and cool in the trees.
    Man, you are killing me here. My ride last night was on United 6414 from SFO to Calgary for a two-to-three day business trip. And the last 20 minutes (coming over the Rockies) was way more bumpy than anything I would have found on a MidPenn-grooomed trail...pretty ugly descent. One of those "glad it's over" landings for sure.

    Stuck up here for a couple more days, all I can do it hit the hotel gym and then read the boards.
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  20. #20
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    We went, we saw, we bailed

    Was at the top within the past 4 days. There's nothing up there, except a view looking down... those pix are too priceless to post. Here's a view looking up.

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    Interesting thread I stumbled on.

    http://ryskamp.org/brain/cycling/ass...-mount-umunhum
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    Zorg, et al...

    Anything I may have said in that article...I take back.

    Cheers
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    Rex,

    Nice shot! Looks like a clear day. If you've got a photo or two of the view, It sure would be nice if you'd share. Having been up on Mt. Diablo and on Mt. Tam on clear days, it would be nice to see.

    Zorg,

    Thanks for that link. I remember finding, reading, then losing the link a few years ago. I was impressed by the effort some folks went to to get up there. I'd just like to legally ride my bike to the top, unharassed. I'd also like the top opened, at least on a limited basis, because I think it would break the inertia of getting things moving with that preserve.

    There's a guy that posts on the ROMP list occasionally who commented on the potential for contour line trails there and other locales, and the relatively low build / maintenance costs for them versus new full width fire roads or even maintaining historic routes, which frequently were laid out with no regard to the environment, or long term operational costs.
    When you look at the MROSD map of Sierra Azul and it's size, the potential for miles of narrow back country trail is just mind boggling. A well designed series of loops would spread trail users out and minimize crowding. Further, I think you could pitch a trail network like this as being consistent with MROSD's mission.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Rex,
    Nice shot! Looks like a clear day. If you've got a photo or two of the view, It sure would be nice if you'd share. .
    I wasn't holding out or trying to be a dikfore. The pix were archived and I'll grab them from the archive location during November when I visit again. I'll get them on this site eventually.

    Meanwhile, I remember being told by a man I encountered way up on the top of that mountain that "Umunhum" is a Native American word that means "I forgot the words".

    HEY!

    I was told that.

    I didn't say it.
    everyone drives a Used Car

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    Rex,

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning!

    HC

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    Rep. Mike Honda sees movement toward park on Mount Umunhum

    From the San Jose Mercury News:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_12018630#

    Rep. Mike Honda sees movement toward park on Mount Umunhum
    By Paul Rogers
    Mercury News
    Posted: 03/28/2009 06:16:03 AM PDT

    After more than 22 years of bureaucratic inaction, efforts to clean up a former Air Force
    radar station on a scenic mountaintop above Silicon Valley and open its summit to hikers,
    bicyclists and picnickers may be finally gathering momentum, locally and in
    Washington, D.C.

    "It feels like all the pieces are coming together and that it's going to happen this time,"
    said Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell. "Why should only rich people have a view? It should
    be available to everybody."

    At issue is the former Almaden Air Force Station, which operated from 1957 to 1980 on
    the top of Mount Umunhum. Named for the Ohlone Indian word for hummingbird, the
    3,486-foot peak towers above South San Jose and Los Gatos on the chaparral ridges
    between Lexington Reservoir and Almaden Quicksilver County Park. But it remains off
    limits because 88 buildings where Air Force crew members and their families lived and
    worked sit abandoned — a crumbling ghost town contaminated with asbestos and lead
    paint.

    For more than two decades, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, the public
    agency that owns the land, has insisted that the Defense Department pay to demolish
    and haul away the buildings. But the Pentagon did little, disagreeing about the extent of
    the federal government's cleanup responsibilities.

    Now political pressure is mounting.

    Last year, the district hired a new general manager, Steve Abbors, who is tackling the
    problem with new energy. This is our biggest priority for this year," Abbors said. "The
    public paid for Mount Umunhum and they haven't been able to get up there. We want to
    get it done."

    In December, Abbors submitted a request under President Barack Obama's federal
    stimulus program for the $11 million needed to demolish the buildings, repave five miles of
    Mount Umunhum Road, and open a small visitor center.

    Meanwhile, he and Honda have organized meetings with Bay Area congressional leaders
    and Army Corps of Engineers managers to sing the site's praises and press for a
    cleanup. Abbors has even printed color brochures of Mount Umunhum and timelines of its
    history.

    Honda also has pressured the Army Corps to finish studies of soil contamination. A draft
    report was completed in January. Meanwhile, a team from the Government Accountability
    Office, the auditor for Congress, visited the site Feb. 6.

    The Army Corps of Engineers says it is willing to clean up any contaminated soil, but
    contends that the buildings were in good condition in 1986 when the open space district
    bought the land. Yet Army Corps officials say they'll be happy to supervise the demolition
    now, if the district can come up with the funding.

    "Without money, we're just another agency saying we'd love to help. We're like the guy
    with the cardboard sign saying 'Will work for money,' " said Jerry Vincent, who supervises
    cleanup of former military bases for the Army Corps office in Sacramento.

    Next month, Honda plans to seek $4 million as part of the 2010 defense appropriations
    bill to fund the cleanup. A similar request failed last year. But this year, Honda said, his
    chances may be better because he's requesting the money go to the Army Corps rather
    than the open space district. Additionally, he introduced language into a defense bill this
    month allowing the Army Corps to also accept money from private donors and state parks
    bonds to help pay for the cleanup.

    Since the 1970s, the open space district has spent $52 million to acquire 17,400 acres
    along Mount Umunhum's flanks. In 1986, it purchased the Air Force land for $260,000.
    With the summit closed, only about 20 percent of all the acreage, which it has named
    Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, is open to the public. The district is finally finishing
    work on a master plan for the preserve — including where trails would go and what uses
    would be allowed — which it hopes to release early next year with the goal of eventually
    opening up about 80 percent of the mountain, said district spokesman Rudy Jurgensen.

    Mount Umunhum is known to most Silicon Valley residents only for "the cube," a square
    concrete building visible from the valley floor that once had a giant red and white revolving
    radar dish on its top. The few people who have been to its summit have enjoyed a
    jaw-dropping panorama of the Pacific Ocean, Silicon Valley, even buildings in downtown
    San Francisco.

    Some South Bay leaders, including Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, say they hope "Mount
    Um" can become for Silicon Valley what Mount Diablo is for Contra Costa County and
    Mount Tamalpais is in Marin County.

    "I've been up there. It's an incredible vista," Lofgren said. "It would be very nice for people
    to be able to hike and drive to."

    A longtime feud between former open space General Manager Craig Britton and Loren
    "Mac" McQueen, whose family owns 800 acres near the summit, also stalled progress.
    But Britton retired last year and McQueen died in 2007. In October, during a reunion of
    former Almaden Air Force Station veterans, McQueen's son, Scott, said he supports
    allowing the public to drive to the top, and likes ideas such as stargazing programs and a
    visitor center.

    "I'm very hopeful. Five years ago I would have said there's no way," said Basim Jaber, a
    San Jose sales engineer who has researched the history of the radar station and who
    organized the veterans' reunion. "Today, I think we're a lot closer."

    Contact Paul Rogers at progers@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5045.

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    Wow, we might see it open in our lifetime. Let's see if we could actually bike on those trails.
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  29. #29
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    Cleanup money for Mount Umunhum wins key approval in Congress

    From the San Jose Mercury News:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12902020


    Cleanup money for Mount Umunhum wins key approval in Congress

    By Paul Rogers
    Mercury News

    In a breakthrough toward creating a new mountaintop park overlooking Silicon Valley, a
    key committee in Congress has approved spending $4 million to remove old buildings and
    toxic materials atop Mount Umunhum, a former Cold War radar station in the hills south
    of San Jose.

    "I'm pretty elated," said U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, who pushed for the money.
    "This is a prime spot where you can see 360-degree views of the valley, Monterey Bay,
    almost the entire Bay Area."

    On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee OK'd the funding as part of the
    2010 defense budget. A vote in the full House is expected next week, with the Senate
    slated to take up the bill in September.

    Despite previous efforts by Honda, this week's vote represents the first time Congress has
    approved cleanup money for the aging military site since it closed nearly 30 years ago.

    "I have all the expectations that it will come through now," Honda said. "This was the big
    hurdle."

    The 3,486-foot mountain, 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.

    The Almaden Air Force Station operated on its summit from 1957 to 1980. Gazing at
    screens in dark rooms 24 hours a day, Air Force technicians scanned the skies for waves
    of Soviet bombers that never came, even scrambling fighter jets at times when wayward
    passenger jets failed to properly identify themselves.

    As one of the higher peaks in the Bay Area, it boasts panoramic views.

    "I remember waking up there on some mornings, and you'd have a great view of Monterey
    Bay. On other mornings, when the fog came, it was like you were the only people in the
    world," said Jack Smith, 52, of Morro Bay, whose father was a medic at the station in
    1971 and 1972.

    The summit has been off limits to the general public for more than 50 years, but is familiar
    to many Silicon Valley residents because of the distinctive silhouette of "the cube" — a
    massive concrete building that once housed the facility's spinning radar dish.

    After satellites made the radar obsolete, the based closed. In 1986, a local government
    agency, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, based in Los Altos, purchased
    the summit for $260,000. The district has since purchased more than 17,000 acres on the
    mountain's slopes, some of which is open for hiking and biking.

    But the district, which operates 26 public open space preserves from Los Gatos to San
    Carlos, has unable to open the top to the public.

    Behind locked gates are 88 derelict buildings, including homes, a gymnasium, garages,
    even a bowling alley, where 120 Air Force personnel and their families lived. Today, the
    buildings are crumbling amid broken roofs, collapsed floors, peeling lead paint and
    asbestos.

    For more than 20 years, the open space district insisted that the Defense Department
    pay to demolish and haul away the 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 for hiking, biking and school visits a top priority, Honda and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San
    Jose, also stepped up efforts to secure funding.

    Total cleanup costs are estimated at $11 million. Should Congress approve the spending,
    it's unclear how much might ultimately be coming this year. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.,
    has requested $4 million for the cleanup, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has
    requested only $2 million.

    If either amount is signed into law this fall by President Barack Obama, construction
    crews could begin work next spring, said Rudy Jurgenson, a spokesman for the open
    space district. With $2 million, they would remove all asbestos and lead and demolish a
    few buildings. For $4 million, they could demolish and remove all the buildings, including
    the "cube," he said.

    The road to the top still needs to be repaved. Jurgenson said the district hopes to build a
    small visitor center on the summit, showcasing the area's wildlife and history.

    "This is a big step toward cleaning up the former base and creating a beautiful place for
    people to recreate," he said. "Now we look to the Senate."

    For Smith, who has returned twice for military reunions in recent years, the summit can't
    be opened soon enough for the public.

    "When I was a kid there going to Leigh High School, they'd ask where I lived, and I'd just
    point. Nobody could believe we lived up there," he said. "I'd bring friends there, and they
    said it was like the highlight of their lives."

    Contact Paul Rogers at 408-920-5045.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ROMP
    If you want to see real change, run for the board of directors in 2010!
    It's not just Umunhum that is being run poorly. It's the entire Sierra Azul preserve. The place is enormous and yet the district doesn't want more trails due to "erosion concerns." Their idea is to simply just keep all the fireroads up there (because the fireroads are so erosion resistant).

    Now throw in that whole fiasco that is Umunhum and you know MPROSD isn't able or willing to get its act together. I have written MPROSD more than once about what the plan is on Sierra Azul. I know some of us showed up at the open house 3 years ago and still nothing has changed or happened. If we can't get a single new trail built in 3 years on MPRSOD land in Sierra Azul, how is Umunhum ever going to open?

    Also ROMP...
    If you live in San Jose, you do not have the ability to run for or vote in MPROSD elections.

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    Saaaaweeeeet!

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    Good find Charlie, thanks for posting that article!

    @CrashWorship: It's true that MidPen takes forever to get anything done. Look at the La Honda Creek OSP for a prime example. Still, it's better to work with them and show them there's demand for access than to take matters into your own hands. The Almaden AFS cleanup really did require an act of Congress to get moving, and it wasn't for lack of pleading on MidPen's part.
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    For $4 million, they could demolish and remove all the buildings, including
    the "cube," he said.
    There should be a way to preserve the cube. Or erect a facsimile made out of plywood or something.

  34. #34
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    10 years from now, we'll have docent led rides once a month around the former base?
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

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    Fat chance, sez I. MidPen can suck the fun out of a roller coaster!

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    very promising and cool! Thanks for keeping us updated.

  37. #37
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    This editorial from the San Jose Mercury News contains some updates on the progress to
    open Mount Umunhum: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_13422492

    Editorial: Feinstein must fight for Mt. Um cleanup

    Mercury News Editorial
    Posted: 09/27/2009 08:00:00 PM PDT

    Now it's all up to Dianne Feinstein.

    California's senior senator had asked for $2 million in this year's military appropriations bill
    to start cleaning up the mess atop Mount Umunhum, the South Bay's answer to Mount
    Tamalpais. Until the work is done, the peak can't open to the public and live up to its vast
    potential for education, tourism and recreation.

    Feinstein's request was less than the $4 million Rep. Mike Honda and other South Bay
    representatives had gotten into the House appropriations bill, but it would have been a
    start. However, the Senate bill ended up with zero dollars for cleaning up lead and
    asbestos on the mountain.

    The only hope now is the conference committee, on which Feinstein sits. At a minimum,
    she needs to see that her $2 million is in the final bill — but fighting for $4 million would
    be more appropriate, given that this is a decades-old unmet obligation.

    The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District owns the peak with the big Air Force
    bunker you can see from the valley floor. But until a recent change in district leadership,
    opening Mount Umunhum to the public has not been a priority, so neither has the battle
    for cleanup money that was supposed to be part of the deal when the Air Force sold the
    land in 1986.

    The total cost to open the area will be $11 million, but a down payment now is important,
    both to start work and to help advocates raise private money. For a pittance in the context
    of billions in military spending, Feinstein can lead the way to make this project a bright
    light in an otherwise dark hour of investment in public facilities.

    Copyright © 2009 - San Jose Mercury News

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    Best peak in the entire south bay, closed for 22 years.

    I may be too old to ride up to it by the time they actually open some of it, but why not spend some "stimulus" money there? We give billions to desert countries in the Middle East that would prefer it if we just left them alone, yet a senior Senator has difficulty getting $10M, or even $2M to clean up a toxic area like Umunhum after 22 years sitting idle, right adjacent to one of the most populated and wealthiest areas in the United States?

    I give her credit for trying, of course, but why should it be so difficult?
    K

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    I agree that the $2 million appropriation shouldn't be so difficult to obtain. This is especially so if you factor in the vigorous ticketing tactics employed by the mid-pen rangers. All they have to do is issue an additional 10,000 tickets and they should be at a break even point, after that Mt Umunhum would become a cash cow.

  40. #40
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    San Jose's Mount Um receives federal cleanup funds

    From the San Jose Mercury News:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14044562

    San Jose's Mount Um receives federal cleanup funds

    By Karen de Sá
    kdesa@mercurynews.com
    Posted: 12/21/2009 06:25:19 PM PST
    Updated: 12/21/2009 09:47:37 PM PST


    Mount Umunhum — with panoramic vistas stretching from Monterey Bay to San
    Francisco — has moved one step closer to becoming the destination that hikers, joggers
    and bird-watchers have looked at longingly for decades.

    The federal defense budget, signed this weekend by President Barack Obama, includes
    $3.2 million to clean up Mount Um, a site contaminated in its former life as an Air Force
    base and radar station.

    The work will help transform San Jose's highest peak into a public recreation site at a
    time when state and county leaders are struggling to pay for parks amid devastating
    budget cuts.

    Open-space advocates who have spent more than 20 years fighting for the funds to
    demolish lead- and asbestos-tainted buildings atop the 3,486-foot mountain cheered the
    news, announced by the White House Monday.

    "You see the views, and you think: 'Wow, it's incredible!' " said Basim Jaber, whose work
    honoring veterans has allowed him to access the coveted mountaintop. "These are views
    most people don't normally see."

    The money is only a fraction of the $11 million needed to complete the overhaul of Mount
    Umunhum's summit, but trails and scenic lookout posts could be constructed within two
    years, said U.S. Rep Mike Honda, D-Campbell.

    Rudy Jurgensen, spokesman for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which
    owns the property, said in the coming months a fundraising campaign will be launched to
    help pay for the project. The district also will hold a series of public meetings to gather
    input on how to design the site for recreational use.

    "This will be a very important and great destination for people one day," Jurgensen said.
    "We purchased this former Air Force base in 1986, and very little cleanup has happened,
    although we've been asking and asking and asking.

    "By this act of Congress, the work can finally start after all these years."

    Honda, who pushed for the federal funds as part of the newly enacted $636 billion defense
    appropriations bill, said the Army Corps of Engineers can now move from studying the
    extent of the contamination problem to actually cleaning it up. Demolition of 88
    dilapidated buildings — including former military housing and possibly the towering
    structure known as "the cube" that once housed a Cold War-era radar — is expected to
    begin this spring.

    The mountain's story is unique. Named after the Ohlone word for hummingbird, the
    mountain was home to the Almaden Air Force Station from 1957 to 1980. Six years later,
    it was acquired by the open space district. But due to underground oil barrels, lead-based
    paints, asbestos-laden building materials, transformers and other toxins, the summit has
    been off-limits to the public for more than five decades.

    In an interview Monday, Honda said he will continue seeking an additional $800,000 that
    will be needed to demolish and remove all the contaminated structures and prepare the
    site south of San Jose for public access.

    "It's what we call earmarks," Honda said. "And everyone is trying to give earmarks and
    that whole process a bad name — for me it isn't. It's being aggressive and going after
    federal tax dollars to bring back to California and this area for good purposes."

    The fate of "the cube" — the massive building that once held the radar atop Mount
    Umunhum — remains uncertain. Long a landmark in the area, the structure could remain
    in place for historic purposes or be torn down with the other buildings, depending on cost
    and contamination factors.

    The 68-year-old Honda, who is the son of strawberry-picking sharecroppers and a lifelong
    resident of the valley, said looking up at the structure has long been a part of local lore,
    tantalizingly close, but off-limits "When I got tired bending over pulling weeds from the
    strawberry patch, " Honda recalled, "I'd stand up straight and look at that ridgeline."

    Contact Karen de Sá at 408-920-5781.

  41. #41
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    Found some good info

    @ http://www.mtbguru.com/trip/show_sta...-mount-umunhum. This route looks as if all FR. Is there more?

  42. #42
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    Those are all regular roads.

    There are some fireroads through Almaden/Quicksilver and Sierra Azul you could take instead.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm
    @ http://www.mtbguru.com/trip/show_sta...-mount-umunhum. This route looks as if all FR. Is there more?
    If I got to the right ride profile by following that link, that is a road ride.
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    It's a roadie ride. Pretty challenging for the weekend warrior. The first time I tried to climb from the bottom of Camden all the way up I had to turn around. Did it my second attempt, but I ran out of water. I live right near the intersection of Camden and Alamden Expy. and my in-laws are natives here. My wife grew up in Almaden, so she knows ALL about this place.

    There is no MTB riding up there. I wouldn't even try anyway due to the crazy locals that live up there. They live in seclusion for a reason.
    Last edited by Dion; 12-25-2009 at 12:22 PM.

  45. #45
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    The locals aren't that bad, just don't head up in a bike. Never had issues with them when i was hiking with a camera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clueless
    The locals aren't that bad, just don't head up in a bike. Never had issues with them when i was hiking with a camera.
    What's their issue with cyclists?
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    What's their issue with cyclists?
    Not sure, last time I went up on a bike I got the "Private Road" speech. However on foot I have never been harassed before and they even smile at me.

  48. #48
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    Maybe they all belong to the Sierra Club.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clueless
    Not sure, last time I went up on a bike I got the "Private Road" speech. However on foot I have never been harassed before and they even smile at me.
    Say I go up there and get the "private road" speech. What happens if I call their bluff(?) and tell them to call the sheriff? Will I be escorted off because is it actually
    private?
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menso
    Say I go up there and get the "private road" speech. What happens if I call their bluff(?) and tell them to call the sheriff? Will I be escorted off because is it actually
    private?
    I would recommend not trying. As you can see here, some have reported confrontations, others have ridden up and and back without seeing anybody. And even thought the new owners have expressed interest in opening the road up, nothing has happened yet. I'm sure that the law is on the property owner's side and you would in fact be trespassing. And do you really want to find out what, if anything, they would do?

    I want that space opened up as much as anybody else, but poaching the road just creates bad PR and does nothing to help our cause. And do you really need the adrenaline rush of being chased off of someone's property by a shotgun?
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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad Man Walking
    I would recommend not trying. As you can see here, some have reported confrontations, others have ridden up and and back without seeing anybody. And even thought the new owners have expressed interest in opening the road up, nothing has happened yet. I'm sure that the law is on the property owner's side and you would in fact be trespassing. And do you really want to find out what, if anything, they would do?

    I want that space opened up as much as anybody else, but poaching the road just creates bad PR and does nothing to help our cause. And do you really need the adrenaline rush of being chased off of someone's property by a shotgun?
    I don't want to be bad PR for these efforts. It's just that many posts have made the locals out to be antisocial hermits trying to keep people off roads that may actually be public. I guess what I am really asking is for the true legal status of the road. Is the road itself truly private, or is it a publicly maintained road?
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menso
    Will I be escorted off because is it actually
    private?
    I'm not sure if "escorted" is the right word to use...

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    Taken from http://www.jaber.net/umunhum/ReunionTour/
    STRICT WARNING: Mt. Umunhum and the former Almaden Air Force Station are both off limits to public access and are PRIVATE PROPERTY (well marked as such). The area is heavily patrolled both day and night and is under camera surveillance 24 hours a day. Being caught up there can net you a misdemeanor trespassing violation (MROSD ord. 805.2B) resulting in fines of $300 or worse! Criminal charges may be brought upon you if you are caught on this military facility. Consider this fair warning.
    It's up to you if you want to risk it - it's your money and life. However, living so close by and going up there all the time (not past the gate) on my bike and motorcycle, there's nothing up there to see except for the cube. I've lived here for about 4 years and my run in with the locals have been via supermoto (they were on dirt bikes, which is insane to see these days in Alamden where most people are in Mercedes and Lexus'es) and they didn't look like they've see a shower for a few weeks.

    If you wanna see cool historic stuff, go up to Almaden Quicksilver. Most of it is open to bikes and there's lots of cool historical fact plaques.

    My wife says she remembers seeing the military vehicles and "army men" ride by all the time when Almaden was still for the country people and no hoity toity would ever step foot around here. Of course, she ran around bare-foot.

    My father-in-law was born and raised in Alamden and is actually in a book called "Images in America - New Almaden" (he's on page 77 with their pet pig, Jimmy Dean) and he says, "There ain't nuthin' that needs to be seen up there". He knows a lot of those people up there. My wife's grandparents ran the Playhouse and Cocktail Bar from 1961 to 1970. That place is haunted, so they say.

    A confrontation with the locals and/or police is not worth it, IMO. But again, if you want to risk it, people do it. Know the consequences, though.

  54. #54
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    I meant escorted by the sheriff. Will law enforcement tell somebody that they are trespassing by riding up mt Um road from Hicks (not onto the closed off based, just to the top of the road), or will nudge and wink and tell somebody that they really shouldn't be there because the locals are batsh!t crazy?
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

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    I've been following this issue for years.

    - I think the claim that the road to the top crosses private property is questionable, which is exactly why the residents have been so vigilant about enforcing their "claim".
    - From what I've read both here and various print media, the death of the family patriarch and the retirement of the former GM of MROSD has resulted in reduced tensions, leading towards MROSD working towards public access.
    - - Whether that means the folks with the claim would ignore you riding up is unknown.
    - - MROSD could still cite someone for being in a closed area on their property.

    -It's not now a military facility; any claims of such are false.

  56. #56
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    Harry, thanks for the info. I have no plans of trespassing onto the closed MROSD property like many do to "bag the cube"--I just think it's a shame that I can't add it to my list of cool climbs to do on my road bike.
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

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    I believe the road past the gate is private, which means that I think you could get in trouble if they did call the Sheriff to come up. Midpen has easement so that they can patrol the old base property. There are indeed survailance cameras at the top, in and around the base property, and they ARE actively monitored. Loren McQueen was not the only one up there that had issues with cyclists. I've talked to another local who lives up there. I think was really largely annoyed with how cyclists would go up to the base and act like they were entitled to have easement and access (neither are true) - I think it rubbed him the wrong way after a while. Unfortunately it was mostly dudes on mountain bikes, so now this guy really doesn't care particularly for mountain bikers.

    Contact Rudy Jurgensen at MROSD and tell him you want to participate in the public meetings where they're gathering input on public use, and/or that you want to help with the fundraising efforts, etc. If you really are interested in getting it opened up, get involved. It's not going to happen overnight, but eventually it will happen - and the more people that get involved, the quicker it might happen - at least that's my guess. Go up there on your own before then, and you might piss off some locals, and you will definitely risk getting a hefty ticket/fine. BTW, everyone should assume that MROSD staff and likely some of the locals are reading this thread...

  58. #58
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    Here's a Umunhum ride report from an RBR member, not me...

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...d.php?t=169111

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menso
    Say I go up there and get the "private road" speech. What happens if I call their bluff(?)
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    Just climb up to the gate - it's a good challenge after tackling Hicks. Definetely not for your weekend warrior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    Just climb up to the gate - it's a good challenge after tackling Hicks. Definetely not for your weekend warrior.
    It's been a long time since I've been up there. Are you referring to the MidPenn gate at the Bald Mountain trailhead (SA-08)? Or is there gate further up the road when it leaves MidPenn property (at around 2900')?

    For those questioning the legality of the private property claim, here's something straight from MidPenn (it's on the maps):

    Public access to the Mt. Umunhum and Mt. Thayer areas of Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve is restricted due to intervening private property on the access routes as well as unsafe structures at the former Almaden Air Force Station. Other open space lands in the southern area of the preserve are also currently inaccessible due to intervening private land.

    Trespassing is a relative concept when it comes to easements. If you are on the property doing something allowed by the easement, then you are not trespassing. If you are on the property doing something not called out in the easement, then it is trespassing. In this case, no doubt the easement allowed the military and private radio tower companies to use the road. But everybody else was trespassing. But it is still not that simple. If the property owners made no attempt to enforce the private property status (by marking it, and chasing trespassers off, and that type of thing, and if the public used the road frequently, the property owners could end up with a prescriptive easement, which basically says "hey, people have been doing this for years, and you didn't do anything about it, so you have lost the right to start whining about it now."

    Slightly off-topic, but I think this is exactly why the guy at the bottom of Overlook (Saratoga) is now hollering at bike riders who use that private road to get to a section El Sereno. The District opened a permit-only parking lot (much to the displeasure of one or more of the nearby residents, and the homeowner is trying to keep the easement to "just cars" by yelling at the bikes. And a lot of us who use that road (have been for years) just wave, say "prescriptive easement" and roll by. I think that if the guy tried to press the issue through the legal system he would lose, just like what happened with the Sheldon Road easement a few years back.

    And back to the topic...when you look at the MidPenn map of Sierra Azul, you see a patchwork quilt of public and private lands. A couple of them are pretty small and don't even seem to have much in the way of access, and are certainly unusable for much of anything now that they are surrounded entirely by open space. I would love to know the story around those sections...who owns them, why do they continue to hold them, etc. The water district probably owns lots of the land around Lake Elsinore and would want to restrict access there to keep the watershed as pristine as possible. But when I look at the area on Google Earth, and see those fire roads, and wonder what it would be like to ride them...

    ...well, you know.

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    I love these threads about Umunhum. It's like a bay area geography and history lesson rolled into one. I think the idea that there are still "wild" places in the ever populated bay area is really cool and interesting.

    My only anecdote on the "neighborhood", was covering the Croy fire as a TV camera guy in 2002. This fire burned 3000 acres from Loma Chiquita Rd/Little Uvas Rd. and headed south jumping Croy Rd and headed up the next ridge over to Summit Rd. This is a couple miles SE/East of Umunhum. Making a lot of trips into the burn area on a pretty gnarly dirt road (Little Uvas? south of Loma Chiquita) it was real apparent that the whole "neighborhood" was interesting. I don't think most people in the bay area have any idea of
    what it's like up there. This one guy literally came out of the bushes on an ATV like his hair was on fire absolutely tweaking his balls off. It looked like squatters rights up there for sure.

    There's the written law and then there's the law of the land, so to speak. Personally, I wouldn't want to have a debate about property easements with a guy that hasn't slept in a month, but that's just me. I'm not condemning every one that lives up in those mountains, but like Dion said, people live up there for a reason.

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    One of the guys I ride with is an ER doc and he sees quite a few of the "ridge people" when they come down for treatment of one sort or another. According to him most are borderline psychotic, meth-head or not. Discussions about "prescriptive easement" probably won't be too productive with someone who thinks you're there to steal his brainwaves.

    On the other hand, the ones who are more dangerous are the perfectly sane ones who are up there guarding their crops. Too bad really, I look out my window and see Umhunum and can only imagine the epic singletrack potentail that exists there.
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    I am sure that when you get south of the open space you do get into some pretty wild territory. Google Maps shows roads in the hinterlands (Loma Chiquita being one) that would suggest you can get from San Jose/Los Gatos all the way down to Watsonville via dirt backroads. And I know some older folks who did it way back when (when men were men and mountain bikes were not even a gleam in anyone's eye...they just did it on road bikes with durable tires). Back then, they said it was no big deal, you just did it.

    Times have changed, for sure. Now the back country is the domain of tweakers and hermits who want to be left alone and are more than willing to scare the bejezus out of anyone who gets up there. Just a few years back, a couple of the backwoods guys started going at each other, and one of them nearly got killed when he rode his dirt bike into a wire strung across the road at helmet-height. The people back there can be freakin' crazy.

    Explore the area with Google Earth...you'll see some interesting encampments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaverbiker
    Not everyone that lives up there is crazy and whacked out. I know a family up there that are super good dirt bike and mountain bike riders and one of the older brothers is a really well known flat track rider.
    You're absolutely right. Not everyone is, but some are.

    On a related note...anybody know if there is any good "hiking" at Uvas Canyon Park. This is at the end of Croy Rd. near Sveadal.

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    Hi All,

    Thanks for the good discussion. I'm just hopeful that sooner, rather than later, we'll be able to get up there and take in the view. Longer term, the potential for rides through Sierra Azul to surrounding public properties could be amazing. It's a big area!

    Dadman, thanks for the especially informative posts. I appreciate your more detailed explanation of easements. I was too impatient to spell it out earlier.

    I think your example of the guy over on Overlook is right on subject. Wish I had saved it, but somewhere, years ago, I recall reading a few things that suggested that certain property owner's claims about public access via the easement weren't rock solid, and were a play for a big pay-out.

    Meanwhile, all we can do is keep the issue simmering and look up at those hills.

    HC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    You're absolutely right. Not everyone is, but some are.

    On a related note...anybody know if there is any good "hiking" at Uvas Canyon Park. This is at the end of Croy Rd. near Sveadal.
    Carl,

    Can't exactly answer your question but have some info.

    10 or 15 years ago, my wife and I drove up along Summit Road and Highland along the ridge line. Our route was Summit Road to Mt. Bache to Loma Prieta Avenue, as shown on Google maps. I remember seeing that there was a trail head for a trail down into Uvas Canyon Park. I had a cold and we didn't go hiking. It was dry and brushy at the top.

    More recently, I've ridden into that park on my road bike. It's a pretty little park, and supposedly has nice waterfalls in the winter.

    The fact that Uvas county park touches the ridge holds out the possibility that there could be a legal route to the coast someday: Uvas Park to MROSD lands to SDF to Nisene Marks.

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    I used to ride from south San Jose to Redwood Retreat, up to Summit and over to Loma Prieta quite a lot. There is that one section on Summit, with a gate that has a sign saying no one is allowed past it and even mentions no bikes as well.

    Talking to local sherrifs, this is NOT a private road and is totally legal. I used to take a load of crap from some guy that seemed to be up there every time I rode through there.

    At first I would argue the point with him, then started mouthing off pretty loud to the point where I was egging on a fight. Probably not the brightest thing to do so far away without a gun of my own, but this guy was really pissing me off. I eventually just started riding through and ignored the guy as he ranted...every time I was up there.

    As to Uvas Canyon/Svedal....there is a fireroad that does go all the way up to Summit Rd. It is park owned and is not legal for mountain biking. I did come down that way a few times when getting caught in some pretty nasty winter storms. I remember the road being extremely steep and it being so cold that my hands had a hard time with the brakes by the bottom (pre V-brakes, let alone disc!). I think the road is about 3 miles long.

    Casa Loma goes up to the top as well. I have heard mixed stories on cool/uncool to go through. I know that there is a sign in Canada del Oro that says not to go up there.

    Calero looks like it is a gateway as well. It looks like a couple of fireroads pass through.
    I hiked it one time years ago but got nervous when I started seeing trailers.

    Also, if you approach the southern end of Hicks Rd. from New Almaden, and keep going straight into the Twin Creeks area (instead of hanging a right on Hicks) you can get pretty far up there when the road turns to dirt. I chickened out when I started hearing dogs barking and didn't venture further.

    Google it and it appears that there are several ways up, but from my exploring it seems you have to cross private property at the bottom to even get started.

    I agree, it would really be nice to get something punched through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nine

    Also, if you approach the southern end of Hicks Rd. from New Almaden, and keep going straight into the Twin Creeks area (instead of hanging a right on Hicks) you can get pretty far up there when the road turns to dirt. I chickened out when I started hearing dogs barking and didn't venture further.
    I have gone pretty far up that road on my SS road bike, it's a dirt/gravel road in very good condition. I'm not sure how legal is that road, but i have ridden it up to the point where it forks out. I did get stop by what seemed like a resident, he was driving a Lexus SUV very nice guy and just told me that it was private land. Looking at it on google earth though it should be able to get you to the summit.

    Does anyone know how private is that road? I know it has a no trespassing sign ever few trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beaverbiker
    Not everyone that lives up there is crazy and whacked out. I know a family up there that are super good dirt bike and mountain bike riders and one of the older brothers is a really well known flat track rider.
    True, but it probably depends just how far off the beaten track they are. Many years back, me a buddy of mine rode from Mt Madonna up Summit Rd to the top of Loma Prieta. Passed lots of locals on the way and they all gave a friendly wave. We were, however, both long haired, tye dye wearing Deadheads so we pretty much fit in. Might have been different if we were sporting lycra. And, it was Summit Rd, even if it was the dirt end of it. It's once you start heading down the fire roads that go up and down the ridges that you start meeting the real characters.


    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    You're absolutely right. Not everyone is, but some are.

    On a related note...anybody know if there is any good "hiking" at Uvas Canyon Park. This is at the end of Croy Rd. near Sveadal.
    Depends on what you're looking for. As Harry pointed out there are some nice waterfalls during the winter. I've taken my little girl up there a few times after a big rain to see them. That's just a little loop though that you can do in a hour or so. Or, you can take the other trail all the way up to Summit but that's just an out and back grunt on the same trail. For pure hiking you're much better off in Almaden Quicksilver or Calero/Rancho Canada Del Oro.
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  71. #71
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    The alternate plans for that area are posted here

    http://www.openspace.org/plans_proje...ternatives.asp


    I see its now been 3 years since the last meeting



    Happy Holidays

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    I have a ton of experience riding Supermoto and dual-sport on crazy, secluded roads. I've had instances where people have "booby-trapped" the trails in New Idria and if we didn't have tire repair, we'd be left for the locals. 5 of our riders found numerous nails and other things that was hidden in some sand on the trail.

    Mountain bike related, my brother rides with Colin from Ibis, and he was coming down the railroad tracks off Uconn trail in Santa Cruz when a meth head cold-clocked him in the face. That was a fist, but what if that was a knife?

    Then there was this story in 2006:

    Los Gatos trio arrested in assault on dirt biker
    John Cote, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Wednesday, May 17, 2006



    Robert Barnes sat in his Los Gatos hills home Wednesday, his face grooved with gashes, his mouth reconstructed with titanium plates, and wondered: Why would anyone set a booby trap across a road used by motorcyclists?

    Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies say that Barnes, 46, could have been decapitated May 6 while riding his motorcycle along Loma Chiquita Road in unincorporated Santa Clara County when he rode into a rope or some other object that had been tightly stretched across the road.

    On Tuesday, sheriff's deputies arrested Barnes' neighbors, Edward Anderson, 48, Donald Bryant, 62, and Donna Olsen, 46, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury in connection with the booby trap. Police say the three watched from nearby bushes as Barnes rode into the rope.

    "I know Ed, I know Don, I know Donna," Barnes said, slightly lisping from the wounds and 500 stitches to his face. "It's hard to really explain. I wish I knew just what the heck they were thinking."

    Barnes was the lead rider in a group of motorcyclists, going 20-25 mph, when something struck him across his upper lip. He was wearing a full-face helmet, but the impact ripped through parts of his face, knocked out teeth and damaged the sides of his helmet around the face guard, he said.

    A second dirt-bike rider saw Barnes thrown from his motorcycle and slowed, Santa Clara County Deputy Serg Palanov said. As the second biker was coming to a stop, he saw the suspects pull taut what appeared to be a rope, Palanov said. The second biker was able to stop in time and sustained only minor injuries from hitting the object.

    A friend drove Barnes to the emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, where, after surgery, he was in a coma for five days.

    Sitting in the living room of a home perched on a hillside, Barnes tried to make sense of what happened that day. With teeth missing, and stitches protruding from a gash tracking upward from the right corner of his mouth, he spoke slowly, sometimes angrily.

    "That was not just a rope," Barnes said. "When the trauma nurse looked at what happened, she said 'There's no way that a rope did this.' "

    Barnes suspects he hit a length of rebar or something similar that his neighbors had secured at both ends across the roadway, and only after he had struck that did they pull up a rope for the second rider.

    Barnes' wife, Wendy Barnes, 41, credited the helmet with saving her husband's life.

    "Without that, they said he would have been dead," she said.

    The bizarre incident stunned some law enforcement officers.

    "I've ridden for years, and I've heard of stories like this, but I just thought it was another urban myth," Palanov said. "I can't believe someone would do this. ... If it was a few inches lower, I don't know. It could have decapitated him, or it could have broken his neck."

    Authorities said they are investigating whether the incident was triggered by a dispute about Loma Chiquita Road, a private road about 5 miles east of Highway 17 at Summit Road. Barnes lives just houses away from his alleged attackers.

    But Barnes, a construction worker by trade who now cares for his children, said there was no conflict with his neighbors.

    He described the neighborhood, where a neighbor's welcome mat read simply, "Leave," and where a power pole is adorned with a blue alien doll, as one that "used to be like the Wild West."

    Some neighbors along Loma Chiquita Road, a ribbon of asphalt that periodically turns to dirt, said they were shocked by what happened.

    "I don't know anything about a dispute," said Kylee Johnson, 26.

    Johnson said she had known the suspects for more than 10 years, described them as nice people, and said she had never heard them complain about motorcycles in the area.

    "I've never heard them complain once; I've never really heard anyone complain at all," said Johnson, whose mother commutes to work on a motorcycle. "People who come up here usually come to get away from it all. You expect stuff like this to happen in the city, but you never expect that it can happen here."

    Then this...

    Woman who booby-trapped trail, snagging biker, gets five years
    John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writer



    (05-18) 17:29 PDT SAN JOSE -- A woman convicted of using a booby-trap to bring down a motorcyclist on a remote road in the hills outside Los Gatos last year was sentenced today in a San Jose courtroom to five years in
    prison.

    Donna Olsen, 47, was one of three people charged with stringing a taut rope across Loma Chiquita Road in unincorporated Santa Clara County that caught her neighbor, Robert Barnes, across the upper lip as he rode by
    with a group of friends.

    The impact hurled Barnes about 30 feet from his motorcycle. The accident left him with 500 stitches, missing teeth and titanium plates in his head.

    Another rider in his group suffered minor injuries in the May 6, 2006, incident; after he saw Barnes go down, he was able to slow before the rope was raised again, authorities said Olsen's neighbor, Donald Bryant, 63, was also convicted in the attack and is awaiting sentencing as his attorney prepares a motion for a new trial, prosecutors said.

    Edward Anderson, Olsen's longtime companion with whom she has two children, was acquitted at trial in December in a case that drew substantial interest among the motorcycling community and some environmentalists who oppose off-road vehicles in rural settings.

    Before being sentenced in Santa Clara County Superior Court on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and an enhancement for personally using a dangerous weapon, Olsen told Judge Paul Bernal she was upset about
    motorcyclists on the road after one had nearly hit her young daughter earlier in the day, causing the girl to fall to the ground, attorneys in the case said.

    Olsen acknowledged knowing the rope was in place, but denied stringing it up, saying one of the two men had done it, without naming who, attorneys in the case said. Olsen said she was trying to take the rope down when someone else pulled it taught for the second rider.

    She apologized to Barnes and said she didn't think he was the rider who had scared her daughter. "When they did this, I don't think they knew it was Mr. Barnes who was riding the motorcycle," Deputy District Attorney Leigh Frazier said. "He was wearing a full face helmet. I don't think they knew they were doing this to their neighbor."

    Olsen, who was on probation at the time for a misdemeanor drug offense, was given the maximum sentence possible. Her probation report shows convictions for misdemeanor driving under the influence, willful cruelty
    to a child, disturbing the peace and other offenses. "I think about how absolutely pointless this crime was," Frazier said. "Mr. Barnes has injuries to his head that have caused permanent disfigurement. The natural question is, 'Why would anyone do something so cruel and unmerited?' "

    A case that began as seemingly senseless violence between neighbors became an unsavory legal battle that ultimately had two long-time companions opposing each other.

    While Anderson, 49, posted his $100,000 bail shortly after being arrested, Olsen has been held on $25,000 bail since her arrest, authorities said. At the time, Anderson's home and property in the Los Gatos hills were
    appraised at about $900,000, he had land holdings out of state and he had his driveway repaved, Frazier said.

    "I'm not sure what his motivation was, but she was certainly left in custody the entire time," said Olsen's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Shelyna Brown.

    At trial, Olsen did not testify, but Bryant and Anderson took the stand and implicated her, Brown said. "I think that was the plan from the outset: to make Miss Olsen the one holding the bag," Brown said. "They both testified, and they placed the blame on Miss Olsen. Period. It's as simple as that."

    Anderson, reached on his cell phone, declined to comment on the case and hung up. Bryant could not be reached. Frazier said it was "hard to know" who hatched the plan and set up the booby-trap.

    "Miss Olsen didn't testify. Anderson and Bryant did, and they pointed fingers at everyone else but themselves," Frazier said. "They know who tied it, but they're not telling."
    I don't know if MTB'ers followed this, but this story went viral in the moto-world. Hit home for me since I've been on that same road on my SuperMoto before. It's sketchy.

    The point is this: having personally experienced run-in's with people who live in the mountains, I don't trust them. Some may be nice and fine, but with the amount of meth and tweakers and illegal activity that runs through the mountains - I'd rather keep my distance. We live in the FREAKING BAY AREA! Really, are we truly out of places to ride? In the above story, everybody thought those people were nice... but look what happens.

    If/when it opens up - go for it. In the meantime, I'd respect their privacy and their land. As if 2 or 3 gates isn't a more clearer message to GTFO. But again, if you really want to go up there - I say go for it. Don't forget a camera.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nine
    I used to ride from south San Jose to Redwood Retreat, up to Summit and over to Loma Prieta quite a lot...
    Now that's what I'm talkin' about...! Great post, Nine.

    I rode once with Tom Cutherbertson (Santa Cruz resident, author of Anybody's Bike Book and lifelong biker and back road explorer, who sadly passed away in 2005). We were doing a road ride over the hill to Aptos and he guided us on some paved back roads that were nothing short of spectacular. 20+ years later I still recall it as the best ride of my life.

    It was Tom whol told me that in his years of biking he had explored the network of fireroads that would let you ride from the valley all the way to Monterrey off-road. Tom did it all on a road bike, btw.

    I'm sure that he ran into the occasional psychotic backcountry hermit with the deranged dog. Probably not as many tweakers and and gun-toting south-of-the-border cartel pot farmers as we have now, though. I fear those days of innocence are behind us.
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    I love this thread...makes me remember when mountain biking was poking around in places you probably should not have been, and knew nothing about. Before GPS and Google Earth, and before MidPenn maps and rangers with speed guns.

    It's different today. Maintained trails, "no bikes" signs, and horse crap.
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    Warning to all...

    I did a search for the violation I got last week and came across this site. I was just caught up there last weekend. I took a bunch of photo's and tossed them up on facebook.

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...5&l=d2edc2a76f

    So yah, it's VERY easy to get to the cube. It's also very illegal. The ranger was nice enough, but I met a local crazy man who was screaming and cursing at me, until pulled out my camera and pointed it at him.

    That's about the only advice I can give if you decide to break the law like I did and go up there. Bring a camera, if you get confronted by any locals, document it.

  76. #76
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    toger,

    Sorry to hear about the citation. Hopefully there's some way you can get that knocked down to a warning. I'd say the ranger would have been nicer if he'd not written you a misdemeanor citation for walking up a paved road.


    Thanks for sharing the photos. Pretty phenomenal views from up there, and it wasn't even that clear.

    HC

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    I don't know if this information is useful at all, but one of my planning contacts at MidPen told me 2 weeks ago that their department has pretty much been ordered to "drop everything and work on Mt. Um." FWIW I think the entire effort has been extremely frustrating for their staff; they want to open it up, they want to see it themselves but the whole thing has been just a CF. I come from a military family and I know how damn hard it can be to get the military to clean up old sites - there seems to be a particular difference between Atlantic and Pacific commands when it comes to those issues. At the base where I grew up back east, **** got cleaned up; no one would tolerate the persistence of pollution like they do at Hunters Point, NAS Alameda, Mt. Um, etc. Anyway, here's to hoping we'll all get to check out Mt. Um soon.
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    Are you a whiny Marin liberal, or a hand-wringing Berkeley liberal?

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piranha426
    I don't know if this information is useful at all, but one of my planning contacts at MidPen
    told me 2 weeks ago that their department has pretty much been ordered to "drop
    everything and work on Mt. Um."
    That is interesting, thanks.

    Snip from the last Mercury article ( http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14044562 ):

    San Jose's Mount Um receives federal cleanup funds

    The money is only a fraction of the $11 million needed to complete the overhaul of Mount
    Umunhum's summit, but trails and scenic lookout posts could be constructed within two
    years, said U.S. Rep Mike Honda, D-Campbell.

    Rudy Jurgensen, spokesman for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which
    owns the property, said in the coming months a fundraising campaign will be launched to
    help pay for the project. The district also will hold a series of public meetings to gather
    input on how to design the site for recreational use.
    Who else laughed when they read these two paragragh? I wonder it Rep Honda got in
    touch with MidPen and said that instead of meetings, PDFs, Powerpoint presentations,
    and 30 year timelines (as with La Honda OSP), they had better get something open within
    two years if they ever are going to see any more of his efforts towards federal funding???

    ///Charlie

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    Interesting analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline35
    That is interesting, thanks.

    Snip from the last Mercury article ( http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14044562 ):


    Who else laughed when they read these two paragragh? I wonder it Rep Honda got in
    touch with MidPen and said that instead of meetings, PDFs, Powerpoint presentations,
    and 30 year timelines (as with La Honda OSP), they had better get something open within
    two years if they ever are going to see any more of his efforts towards federal funding???

    ///Charlie
    You might be on to something there. There's a paved road to the top. How much would it cost to put in a pit toilet and fence off the hazardous areas?

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    You might be on to something there. There's a paved road to the top. How much would it cost to put in a pit toilet and fence off the hazardous areas?
    My guess is that the district would still be afraid of people jumping fences.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    My guess is that the district would still be afraid of people jumping fences.
    zorg,

    No doubt. And I appreciate the observation. But that could be solved.

    Clearly they are patrolling up there. The new guy that posted the photos got cited. Or they could open it it up one weekend a month on a schedule, with a docent or two stationed up top to answer questions and keep an eye on things.

    HC

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    zorg,

    No doubt. And I appreciate the observation. But that could be solved.

    Clearly they are patrolling up there. The new guy that posted the photos got cited. Or they could open it it up one weekend a month on a schedule, with a docent or two stationed up top to answer questions and keep an eye on things.

    HC
    If there's a will.... Question is "is there a will to get things moving on that park?".

    We have to hope that 1) decent trails will be opened to bikes (and based on OLH, that might be a stretch) and 2) they open the preserve/park before we're too old to ride up to the top.

    That being said, if the district reaches out for donations, that might be a good time to flex our financial muscle and raise funds for the district. Who wants to put together a fund raising ride up there?
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    That being said, if the district reaches out for donations, that might be a good time to flex our financial muscle and raise funds for the district. Who wants to put together a fund raising ride up there?
    Oh, sure, so they can build more horse trailer parking and close more trails to bikes. Or at least buy some new radar guns...

    Unless there is a change in the board...

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Oh, sure, so they can build more horse trailer parking and close more trails to bikes. Or at least buy some new radar guns...

    Unless there is a change in the board...
    No offense, but that's kind of an all or nothing tack. I think zorg's got a good idea. This is a common interest kind of thing.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    No offense, but that's kind of an all or nothing tack. I think zorg's got a good idea. This is a common interest kind of thing.
    No offense taken, I do know that am being purposefully spiteful here. It just it pains me to donate to that board; every time I run on a bad knee over a perfectly nice trail that excludes bikes, but allows horses...

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    I think the general idea is that wealthy land owners own horses, so by catering to them you're catering to people with a lot of resources.

    The saying goes, it's 2% of the people that own 98% of the worlds wealth.

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    Hey while I'm here, are any of you guys a lawyer? I could use some pro-bono help =D

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    Quote Originally Posted by toqer
    Hey while I'm here, are any of you guys a lawyer? I could use some pro-bono help =D
    I know a couple lawyers, but they don't do the kind of practice you need for the situation you posted here. I saw a post in another thread that mentioned that the Bar Association has some sort of referral service. I believe that it is pretty standard practice that a lawyer will give you a brief initial consultation at no charge, just to tell you what they think, and what they might charge. Try the public defender first. Can't hurt - all they can say is you make too much money.

    If I was you, even if it costs a few hundred, I'd shop for a lawyer that has a good idea of how to knock that misdemeanor down to an infraction. All you did was walk up a road in a publicly owned open space

  89. #89
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    Memories

    Quote Originally Posted by 2clueless
    I have gone pretty far up that road on my SS road bike, it's a dirt/gravel road in very good condition. I'm not sure how legal is that road, but i have ridden it up to the point where it forks out. I did get stop by what seemed like a resident, he was driving a Lexus SUV very nice guy and just told me that it was private land. Looking at it on google earth though it should be able to get you to the summit.

    Does anyone know how private is that road? I know it has a no trespassing sign ever few trees.
    Wow, that brings back a lot of memories. In the mid '80's my girlfriend and I went for a walk up that road. We were met by a guy driving his truck toward us. He was surprisingly nice. He told me we were on his property but said if we made arrangements with him ahead of time, he'd show us around. He wrote his name and number on a piece of paper and gave it to me. I think his name was James McKinnay. (or McKinney) I kept that piece of paper for the longest time but never took him up on his offer.
    Every time you clog a toilet you have exceeded someone's expectations.

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    http://cbs5.com/localwire/22.0.html?...FERENCE-02-08#

    Officials To Discuss $3.2 M Allocated For Almaden Air Force Station Clean-Up
    Mon, 17 May 2010 02:08

    Officials will discuss this morning $3.2 million in federal funding that has been set aside to
    clean up the abandoned Almaden Air Force Station in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

    Congressman Mike Honda, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, and representatives for
    Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein will join the Midpeninsula Regional Open
    Space District to describe how the allocated money will be used.

    Almaden Air Force Station was a radar station built in 1957 to monitor California airspace,
    according to spokesman Rudy Jurgensen of the Open Space District.

    The base was closed in 1980 and acquired by the district in 1986. The site has been
    empty since then because environmental hazards such as lead-based paint and asbestos
    make it unsafe for people to occupy the buildings, Jurgensen said.

    The $3.2 million in federal funds will be used to clean up the buildings so they can be
    demolished without releasing toxins, according to Jurgensen.

    The district is hoping to obtain more federal funding to knock down the buildings, and it
    will oversee a donation campaign to raise additional money for trails and other public
    access equipment.

    "It will help us do some more environmental restoration," Jurgensen said of the fundraising
    campaign. "We want to restore the top of the mountain."

    The entire restoration project has been estimated at $11.5 million.

    At this morning's press conference, members of the Army Corps of Engineers and the
    Open Space District will discuss how their agencies are working together on the project.

    Press conference attendees should meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Venture Christian Church
    at 16845 Hicks Road, Los Gatos.

  91. #91
    Y no grease?ლ(ಠ益ಠლ
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    Man. I would be interested in figuring out a way to see the cube up close before it's destroyed. PM me if you are feeling ballsy.
    Climbing ain't easy
    when you're fat and greasy
    - 2 Bigsteve

  92. #92
    More pie please
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    http://www.mercurynews.com/los-gatos/ci_15104251

    Progress toward cleanup, opening of trails at Mount Umunhum

    By Stephen Baxter

    sbaxter@community-newspapers.com
    Posted: 05/17/2010 03:23:17 PM PDT
    Updated: 05/17/2010 04:53:07 PM PDT

    It will be at least three years before Silicon Valley residents can hike and enjoy the
    panoramic view at Mount Umunhum, but federal officials announced in mid-May that the
    former Air Force base near south San Jose is on track to open.

    The former Almaden Air Force Station—known for its cubed radar tower visible to much of
    San Jose on a clear day—recently received $3.2 million from the federal government to
    help clean it up and open new trails and facilities. Roughly 25 buildings are likely to be
    demolished at the summit of Umunhum, and it will cost $11.5 million to remove the
    buildings and the plan and construct new trails and facilities.

    U.S. Reps. Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren helped secure the recent contribution to the
    project, and public meetings to plan new public facilities on the mountain are expected to
    start in late summer.

    "It's a mountain equivalent to Mount Tam or Mount Hamilton, just for the viewshed," said
    Tom Lausten, a Santa Clara County Parks ranger who patrols near the mountain.

    Another perk for Almaden Valley residents around Hicks Road is the area's potential
    connections to Almaden Quicksilver County Park, which already has walking trails and
    horse trails.

    There are now two planning processes at the 3,486-foot Mount Umunhum—which the
    Ohlone Indians named "the resting place of the Hummingbird."

    The first is the $7.5 million cleanup that the federal government committed to in 1986
    when the Midpeninsula Open Space District bought the land. The second process is the
    planning and design for public access, which has begun and will cost $4 million.

    Umunhum's peak and its cubed tower were used for early-warning radar during the Cold
    War, and Air Force workers and their families lived at the summit. Battered by weather,
    those buildings contain asbestos and lead paint that need to be removed.

    Potential public uses for the Umunhum's 13,000 acres will be the subject of community
    meetings in the fall in Los Gatos and possibly south San Jose, Midpeninsula
    representatives said. The site is near the Los Gatos border.

    "It is very steep, but there's definitely a lot of potential, Midpeninsula Open Space
    spokeswoman Leigh Ann Maze said of the terrain. Maze said that Midpeninsula does
    "ecologicially sensitive restoration," which would probably rule out paths for ATVs or other
    motorized vehicles on the mountain.

    The forest is habitat for mountain lions, golden eagles, frogs and other species.

    The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to test for land contamination through the
    summer and remove hazardous materials through summer 2011. Depending on federal
    funding, the corps could start demolishing its buildings in 2011 and finish in 2013.

    Officials from Midpeninsula Open Space will begin public meetings in late summer, and
    its leaders hope to start restoration and projects in 2013.

    For updates, visit www.openspace.org/plans_projects/mt_umunhum.asp.

    Contact Stephen Baxter at sbaxter@community-newspapers.com.

  93. #93
    he who goes without food
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    3 years LOL

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by diskus
    3 years LOL
    Well, they've sat on it for 25 years or so; a few more don't matter to them.

  95. #95
    Slowest Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by diskus
    3 years LOL
    True, it's a long time.

    OTOH, just while I've been living in south San Jose for the last 6 years, I've seen many new local trails opened, like two new MTB entrances at Quicksilver that make for nice connections in longer rides. And local parks open, like Harvey Bear and Ranch Canada del Oro recently, and Blair Ranch in the next couple years. And Sierra Azul will eventually get some new trails too.

    What's even better is that a lot of these park openings, like in Quicksilver and Sierra Azul and other new purchases, will connect with each other and places like St. Josephs, and Soquel Demonstration Forest and Rancho Canada del Oro.

    I like that positive trend, even if it's slow. Much better than trail closures over time. MTB life is looking good.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  96. #96
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    Larry,

    You are absolutely right about the big picture, and that is an overall healthy attitude.

    I was particularly bitter when I wrote my last post, and am still pondering what I might do about that. I had just finished watching the Youtube movie that you can reach via the MROSD link in Skyline35's last post. It's an MROSD piece on what a spectacular place this is, and why they are utterly blameless that this mountain is still closed after 25 years of their ownership.

  97. #97
    More pie please
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    Mt. Umunhum Restoration Project ceremonial groundbreaking - July 9, 2010

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/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: 07/09/2010 06:46:12 PM 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 mountain-top 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 breath-taking
    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 afforded clear views of the Diablo Range downtown and San
    Jose, 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 after demolition work, additional fund raising, 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 pot-holed 5-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 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 than 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 5-story radar tower will be torn down, what
    kind of visitor center to build and other issues.

    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 visitor's center on the first floor."

    Contact Paul Rogers at 408-920-5045.
    [edit] Here's a couple more articles...

    S.F. Chronicle: Feds grant $3.2 million to restore Umunhum


    Channel 5: Officials Help Celebrate $3.2 Million Allocated For Former Air Force Base Clean-Up
    The District may have another obstacle to face after they clean the site as much of it is surrounded by private property, and the top cannot be accessed without crossing private property, according to Jurgensen.

    "We're going to have to talk to [the private property owners] about access," Jurgensen said.

    The District has not yet spoken with them yet, he said.
    Last edited by Skyline35; 07-10-2010 at 06:17 AM. Reason: to add a couple more links.

  98. #98
    mtbr member
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    People are funny.
    Last edited by Carl Hungus; 07-09-2010 at 11:15 PM.

  99. #99
    Paper or plastic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    Cross posting this from the MBOSC listserv...

    "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?
    Just another 4 years before it opens...
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  100. #100
    56-year-old teenager
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    Cross posting this from the MBOSC listserv...

    "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?
    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.
    Work is the curse of the biking classes.

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