Owner/Client:      Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

In October 2012, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District approved a proposal to open public access to the peaks of Mount Umunhum and Mount Thayer in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Mount Umunhum Environmental Restoration and Public Access will involve:

  • demolition and removal of a previous U.S. Air Force Station on the peaks,
  • ecological and landform restoration,
  • trail connections,
  • open space amenities,
  • viewing and ceremonial areas, and
  • a visitors center.

Ascent prepared an EIR for the Project. One of the primary issues addressed was the fate of an existing radar tower—a massive, five-story, concrete cube visible from much of the South Bay and an important landmark for the community and for local veterans. The mountain-top site also is important to Ohlone culture. The EIR evaluated three options for the radar tower: retention, partial demolition, and full demolition. Historic and archaeological resources were the primary environmental issues evaluated in the EIR with other issues including habitat effects, wildland fire hazard, traffic, access and parking, aesthetics, and visitor use effects.