May 2018 Preservation Update

As you know the historic Radar Tower atop Mt. Umunhum has been spared the wrecking ball for now, but it has not yet been preserved. More work remains to make sure that it will be around for the future.  

In April the MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District’s (MidPen) Board of Directors was asked to take the first step towards such preservation, a professional engineering assessment of the Tower’s condition.  At that meeting the Board refused to authorize the assessment.

At their May 9 meeting they once again refused to allow the assessment to be conducted!

Please let the MidPen board know that they must allow an engineering assessment of the Tower to be conducted!  


Phone: 650-691-0485



MidPen’s staff wants to assess the Tower’s condition so that it can be repaired as necessary to achieve these goals:

  • Ensure safe visitor experience near and around the structure
  • Minimize long-term maintenance
  • Provide safe conditions for interior and exterior maintenance

The Umunhum Conservancy agrees that these are an appropriate set of goals for guiding future Tower repairs.

The staff at MidPen has given their board examples of known issues with the Tower that need to be corrected in order to achieve these goals.  What MidPen’s staff does not know is specifically what repairs are required. They have asked the MidPen Board for permission to hire an expert to perform that assessment.

That’s what the MidPen Board has refused to allow, twice.  An inspection to identify needed repairs. Not to perform the repairs, not to pay for the repairs.  They have twice refused to allow an inspection to determine what repairs are necessary!

Their repeated refusal:

  1. Puts the future of the Tower in danger.  The MidPen Board seems to be trying to demolish the Tower “by neglect”, since their earlier attempts to do it “by wrecking ball” were unsuccessful.
  2. Puts the Open Space District itself at risk. MidPen staff has informed their Board of issues that must be addressed. Their Board’s refusal to address them surely makes the District knowingly negligible if those issues cause any future damage or injury to the District’s maintenance staff.

Note that the Umunhum Conservancy has offered to hire a qualified expert to perform an assessment. MidPen has informed the Conservancy that no such outside evaluation will be allowed.

Please let MidPen’s Board know that they must allow an engineering assessment of the Tower’s condition to proceed.  You may contact them via the phone numbers and links above.

To contact the Umunhum Conservancy, see

As always, thank you for your support!

…Sam Drake / President / Umunhum Conservancy