November 2019 Update

Important! The tower’s owner will decide on November 20 what repairs to authorize to preserve it.  


The summit of Mt. Umunhum and its historic radar tower are owned by the MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District (MidPen).  In May 2016 the tower was declared historic by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. In June of 2016 MidPen adopted the “retain and seal” option for the historic radar tower. They agreed to cease their efforts to demolish the tower. However, no work was actually performed to preserve the tower, and such work has not yet been performed. 

The next step in that process is conducting an engineering analysis of the Tower to determine what specific repairs it requires.  That study is now complete, and the results are available here:

In this very detailed report experts describe what repairs are needed and give several options for each repair. Those options range from short-term fixes that might last 5 or 10 years up to long term repairs that would last as long as 40 years. The report also estimates the cost of each option.

This Wednesday, November 20 2019, the MidPen Board will be asked to vote on the MidPen General Manager’s recommended course of action. MidPen staff’s recommendation to their Board is to implement the recommended long term repairs. While this option will cost the most in the short term, it will also dramatically reduce maintenance costs in the future. The recommended long term repairs will cost the least over the next 20 years when those maintenance costs are included in the calculation.

The Umunhum Conservancy strongly supports the MidPen staff’s recommendations. 

That recommendation is here:

We urge interested members of the general public to let the MidPen Board of Directors know that you support that recommendation as well. You can contact them here:

Umunhum Conservancy Update

The Umunhum Conservancy was founded in 2012 to preserve and protect Mt. Umunhum and its historic radar tower. Since 2016 the Conservancy has been waiting for the completion of this engineering assessment. Now that the required repairs are known, we look forward to their completion.

While primary responsibility for maintaining the tower lies with MidPen, there are opportunities for the Conservancy to provide funds to assist with necessary repairs. We believe that the Conservancy’s role should be to:

  • Provide funds to accelerate the implementation of urgent repairs, and/or to
  • Provide funds to allow repairs to be performed to a higher standard than MidPen would fund alone

Once the MidPen Board approves their General Manager’s recommendation, we look forward to a productive dialog with MidPen management to discuss priorities and see how the Conservancy can best help with funding of repairs.

We expect those discussions will involve several topics:

  • Spending current Conservancy funds on hand, 
  • Potential future fundraising by the Conservancy, and
  • How the Conservancy could assist in securing grant funding from other sources

We welcome the opportunity to sit down with MidPen staff and begin those discussions.

In conclusion, we want to thank everyone in the Bay Area who has helped to protect the historic radar tower to date. We hope this vote on November 20 will begin the next chapter in that effort.

…Sam Drake / President / Umunhum Conservancy

Spared For Now

Not Yet Preserved

We’re Not Done!

Thank You For Your Support!