The latest news and information about the District and Preserves.
Notice of Change to On-Leash Dog Access in Upper La Honda
In accordance with the La Honda Creek Open Space Master Plan, the District is opening designated trails in Upper La Honda Creek Preserve (as shown on map) to on-leash dog access starting October 19, 2018.
A permit for parking is required to park in the upper portion of the Preserve. No parking is allowed outside the gate or along Allen Road.
Ana María Ruiz appointed to lead the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Los Altos, CA— The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s board of directors appointed Ana María Ruiz as the organization’s new general manager at their regular public meeting last night. The decision follows a competitive national recruitment.
Ruiz is Midpen’s fourth general manager to lead the public agency that was created by voters in 1972. She has been rising through the ranks of the organization for 20 years, earning the role of acting general manager after Steve Abbors retired in December.
“Ana María Ruiz is a trailblazer, and the right person to lead Midpen through this time of transition,” said Midpen’s Board President Jed Cyr. “Ana provides the stability and focus needed to ensure a balanced delivery of our mission. She has an incredible understanding of the organization, a keen analytical mind and passion for stewarding public open space and connecting diverse communities to nature.”
As General Manager, Ruiz oversees the successful implementation of the organization’s mission and vision plan by more than 170 staff. This includes completing new public access facilities and land conservation projects to meet Midpen’s commitments under the 2014 voter-approved Measure AA. Ruiz will also place great emphasis in strengthening existing partnerships and creating new coalitions to engage surrounding communities in the stewardship and protection of local open space lands and the unique natural resources that make the Bay Area so special.
Ruiz began her career with Midpen as a planning technician in 1998, working her way up to planning department manager in 2009 and becoming assistant general manager in 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences from Stanford University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from San Jose State University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and recently completed the Santa Clara County Leadership Academy and California Local Governance Summer Institute at Stanford University. She lives in Mountain View with her family.
Los Altos, CA— Mount Umunhum Trail in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve is one of 19 trails across the country, and the only one in California, to be designated a national recreation trail this year, ahead of National Trails Day June 2. Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, the public agency managing the trail and preserve, also received an award of excellence in park planning from the California Park and Recreation Society for new public access at Mount Umunhum.
“Planning, building and maintaining great trails that provide the public with an enjoyable experience in nature, and withstand the test of time, is something Midpen staff work very hard at and take a lot of pride in,” said Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's Acting General Manager Ana Ruiz. “It’s an art informed by science.”
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District staff designed and built the 3.7-mile trail as part of new public access to Mount Umunhum that opened last fall. The trail offers a gentle climb to the summit of one of the highest peaks in the Bay Area for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. It passes through chaparral, under the canopy of pine and oak woodlands and over the headwaters of Guadalupe Creek offering views of the valley below, ridgelines above and nearby peaks along the way. The trail emerges near Mount Umunhum’s rocky summit, where interpretive signs and weather shelters help visitors discover local history, rare plants and wildlife and 360-degree views of the region.
The Mount Umunhum Trail is the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s first to be designated a national recreation trail, however all of its trails are built with the same high standards of quality, attention to the environment and visitor experience. Midpen provides more than 225 miles of trail to the community in 24 open space preserves throughout the South Bay, Peninsula and San Mateo County Coast areas that are free and open to the public daily. Docents lead free year-round hikes and activities to connect the public with these trails and nature.
The National Recreation Trails Program includes more than 1,000 trails, and is administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service with partners including American Trails.
Due to ongoing maintenance and monitoring activities around the radar tower, the following areas at Mount Umunhum are temporarily closed:
- The area surrounding the base of the radar tower and pathways leading to the area
- The hiking only section of the Mount Umunhum Trail between the East Summit and Trailhead Shelter Area
The Mount Umunhum parking lot, trailhead shelter, stairs to the summit, west loop trail, summit shelter and trail to the Bald Mountain staging area all remain open.
In November 2017, small flakes of paint containing low levels of lead were discovered near the Mount Umunhum radar tower. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the public, the area surrounding the base of the radar tower and pathways leading to the area are temporarily closed to public access.
- Rain and wind events in November 2017 appear to have caused small flakes of paint to shed off the radar tower. These paint chips were tested and found to contain low levels of lead.
- Lead was a common additive used in paint before the 1980s throughout the country, when the former Almaden Air Force Station was active.
- The former air force station site, including the radar tower, underwent comprehensive abatement and remediation work prior to the construction of the public access improvements. This work included the removal of peeling paint from the radar tower and the application of a sealant. Prior to opening to the public the tower was also painted with an anti-graffiti coating on the first floor. However, it appears that the remnant lead-containing paint that originally was adhered to the structure is now flaking off. For this reason, Midpen is taking the precaution of closing the area surrounding the radar tower to ensure the safety of the public visiting the summit area.
- A subsequent project to re-assess the radar tower and identify any additional repairs, to seal and retain the structure over the longer term, will take place over the next couple of years. There may be closures during this future work as well.
Midpen Biologists believe that one or more mountain lions may live within and around Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. While these lions are usually most active between dusk and dawn, sightings at Rancho San Antonio have been reported year round at all hours of the day. Find out more about Mountain Lions and how to stay safe while out on the trails.