MROSD seeks public input on access to Mt. Umunhum

Press release

Posted by on Wed, September 22, 2010

Video by David Schwaderer, June 2009

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is holding the first of two public meetings to share information and solicit input as it begins planning for environmental restoration and public access to the summit of Mt. Umunhum.

When: Thursday, September 30, 2010
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Where: United Methodist Church
111 Church St.
Los Gatos, CA 95030 (map)


The District acquired Mt. Umunhum, the second-highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in 1986 when it purchased the 44-acre former Almaden Air Force Station and surrounding lands from the United States Government. Prior to transferring the property to the District, the Department of Defense acknowledged that the site, which had been intensely developed with nearly 90 structures, underground conduit tunnels, and interconnecting pipelines, was contaminated due to past defense activities.  While the extent of contamination was unknown, the Department of Defense assured the District that the federal government would decontaminate the site.

Unfortunately, more than 20 years after the District’s purchase, not much has happened. The Army Corps of Engineers conducted limited cleanup but at a painfully slow pace. Much remains to be done at a cleanup cost of $11 million.

“The long term goal is for Mt. Umunhum to become one of the Bay Area’s most breathtaking public destinations” said Open Space District General Manager Steve Abbors . “Gathering the public’s input is a crucial first step in this process.”

With views as far as Monterey Bay, Mt. Umunhum is special to the military personnel and their families who were stationed there, as well as the local Ohlone people. Santa Clara Valley residents know Mt. Umunhum as a local landmark topped by a large cement radar tower that is visible for miles.  More details about the project can be found at www.mtumunhum.org.