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Three Options at Mt. Umunhum Wednesday

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District provided three proposals for members of the public to examine and weigh in on.

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District held an open house and workshop for its directors to hear the public on options for the Mt Umunhum radar tower July 18 at the Quinlan Center in Cupertino.

In the fall, the district's board of directors will decide what option would best serve the public and history. .

The five-story tower is a relic of the Cold War, part of the Almaden Air Force Station, where vigilant personnel kept watch over the skies.

Option 1 - Restore: The radio tower would be removed, leaving only its subsurface foundation. Native habitat would be restored to near-natural condition within the tower footprint, providing visitors with a panoramic view and sense of the summit as it once was.

Option 2 - Open Air: The radar tower would be mostly removed; however the first-floor columns and wall sections are preserved as an accessible open-air gathering place. This open-air option would retain parts of the former tower while allowing for partial views at the summit site.

Option 3 - Retain and Seal: The radar tower would be retained in its entirety and remain the most prominent feature at the summit. Stuctural damage would be repaired, a new roof installed, and the radar tower would be sealed shut 

To allow visitors to safely access the site long-term, the building's structural integrity would be upgraded to meet Santa Clara County's code requirements.

patricia July 19, 2012 at 09:06 PM
remember that this is only accessible thru a fire road from atop Mt. Bache or from the New Almaden side of it, and at this high elevation, it would not be accessible during snow season. People could be trapped up there with no services of any kind, maybe not even cell phone reception. Also, the terrain is very steep and during rainy season, it is very very muddy. And when no rain, your vehicle will need a serious wash job after you decend from the dusty rocky terrain. Most people would not love the fact you must drive with open cliffs to get there, where the roads are so washboarded, that your vehicle passengers could be thrown around, unless you drive 5mph. I know because I owned property up there for 20 yrs and lived there for 6. 10 miles to a gas station! What a waste of public funds to make this mountain top into a park. Why not visit the park on the Morgan Hill side of Crory Rd. At least it's shady and forrested. There are few tree atop Mt. Um, very very hot, but you would have a view. Also look out for the locals who drive like they are on a race track coming around those steep hairpin gravelly turns.
Brad July 20, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I tend to agree with Patricia's conclusion. We do need to spend money on summit improvements, nor on making the tower safe for those visiting. Just open the summit to those who wish to go up there at their own risk. It is disgraceful that we have made it an infraction - and in the case of the summit, a misdemeanor - to simply hike to the top of a mountain! Help to halt the nanny state mentality. Do not tear down a valuable piece of history that prompts residents, tourists, and others to learn about and remember the cold war. Save our taxes. Leave it alone and stop citing those of us who want to visit a local landmark!
Basim Jaber July 21, 2012 at 03:09 AM
$200,000 donation to save Mt. Umunhum Radar Tower http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21123661

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