Friends of Santa Teresa Park Zoom Meeting, 4/1/21


    • Attendees: Mike Boulland, Kitty Monahan, Kim Garland, Steve Crockett, Woody Collins, Youngmee Kim (new), Ron Horii
    • This was an online Zoom videoconference meeting. Mike sent out a meeting link for this Zoom meeting. Here's the agenda for today's meeting.
    • Greg Koopman is in Delaware. He is coming back next week. Roxanne is busy and could not attend.
    • Youngmee lives by the golf course. She came to the area 4 years ago and started hiking 1 1/2 years ago. She has been looking at volunteer opportunities. Since the pandemic shutdown, she has only been hiking at Santa Teresa Park, 2-3 times per week.
    • Ron showed pictures: Mike, Ron, Greg, and Woody went on a scouting trip on 3/5/21 to see what work needs to be done around the Bernal Ranch and Santa Teresa Spring. They also explored the route of the proposed trail from Santa Teresa Spring into the Bear Tree Lot, Pyzak Ranch, and Bonetti Ranch. Mike showed where his students buried a time capsule next to the Bear Tree monument, which will be moved closer to the Bear Tree. Ron showed the new bench on the Joice Trail, snow on the mountains, the new trail closure signs, views from Coyote Peak, crowds on the trails and parking lots, wildflowers. He showed the conditions and work needs around the Bernal Ranch and Santa Teresa Spring. There is a new memorial bench below the spring. It's dedicated to park maintenance worker Jeremy Celaya's daughter, who died in infancy. There was grass cut in the field of the Bonettti Ranch that looks like the route of the new trail.
    • There are flip-down trail closure signs that are opened after measurable rain, announcing that the trails (the unpaved ones) are closed to bicycles and equestrians. Despite the signs, many bicyclists have been riding on the trails when they are closed, which causes erosion and trail damage. One problem may have been that the signs were wordy, with a lot of small print. They may not have been eye-catching enough to deliver their message. They were replaced by much simpler signs that say only "ALL TRAILS CLOSED. No Bicycles. No Horses. Hiking Allowed. Trail Information: (408) 355-2200." It remains to be seen how effective they are, but Ron counted 5 bicyclists on the trails to Coyote Peak when the trail signs were flipped open, the day after it rained.
    • Budget: We have $1902.70 in the bank so far.
    • At the last Parks Commission meeting, Director Don Rocha talked about the proposed plan to build trails in the Santa Teresa Historic Site. The Board of Supervisors approved the plan. It is going out to bid.
    • Mike will be presenting at the next Parks Commission meeting on April 7. He will talk about the new trail in the historic area and the reinstatement of the parking fees.
    • Mike reported that Carolyn Schimandle, who is in charge of interpretive events at the Bernal Ranch, said that the barns might open again in September.
    • Mike will be submitting a change request for our Beautify SJ Grant. It was supposed to last for 1 year, but because of the pandemic, it has to cover 2 years. We need to re-evaluate our budget and make sure we have enough in the grant to cover expenses for both years. (See agenda for details.) Mike talked about events that we could participate in, such as a dedication ceremony for the new trail. If we do our own event, we will need to get event insurance, which we had in the grant for National Night Out.
    • Blair Pagano, the new park volunteer coordinator, got approvals for our work days. Long-term volunteers need to have Livescan fingerprinting for a background check, sign a volunteer waiver, fill in an Outside Employment/Incompatible Activities form, and complete a one hour online Sexual Harassment Prevention training course. Short-term volunteers only need to sign a waiver for each event.
    • We will have a work day tomorrow, 4/2 at the Bernal Ranch at 9:00 am. Ron, Mike, Kim, Kitty, and Woody plan to be there. We will be doing cleanup around the ranch house. Mike got approval from Jeremy Celaya in Maintenance. We will bring our own hand tools. Youngmee will come visit. She hasn't been to the Bernal Ranch before.
    • Teri Rogoway, educational coordinator for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, will talk about the OSA at our next meeting (re-scheduling from this meeting).
    • Mike invited park planner Jeremy Farr to talk about the new trail at a future meeting.
    • The Open Space Authority is having open access days to Coyote Ridge and Diablo Foothills (Doan Ranch).
    • Parking fees in all the County Parks were suspended during the pandemic. They will resume on April 5. Roxanne was concerned that resuming fees at the Pueblo Area of Santa Teresa Park will chase people away. This is an issue we addressed in 2000, when the parking machines were installed in Santa Teresa Park, under orders from the County Executive. We observed that the parking fees greatly decreased the usage of the park. Santa Teresa has much fewer developed facilities compared to other parks that charge parking fees, like Vasona or Hellyer, so it's not perceived as a good value. Ron made a webpage about it. Back then, we spoke at Park Commission meetings and talked to the Park Directors, but were not successful in having the parking fees removed. During the pandemic, park use has increased dramatically. Some of the Pueblo parking lots fill up, even mid-week. Most people are there to go hiking or biking, not to use the facilities. They may not return if the fees are reimposed. Compared to 2000, there are more places to go hiking/biking nearby that are free, such as Rancho San Vicente and Coyote Valley Preserve. Our plan is to observe and record park usage before and after the parking fees are reimposed. We want to gather evidence to make a case for dropping the fees. We may bring this to the attention of park staff and the Parks Commission. Note that this concern applies to Santa Teresa Park's Pueblo Area only and not other parks.
    • Youngmee was asking about volunteer opportunities. Most volunteer activities are on hold because of the pandemic. The Open Space Authority is accepting and training volunteers for trail patrols. So are the County Parks. Trail patrollers patrol the trails on their own and report conditions. County Parks trail patrollers have more training, like first aid/CPR, and more responsibilities.
    • The banquet facility at the Santa Teresa Golf Club, where we usually have our meetings, has been closed due to the pandemic. It may be open again with COVID19 restrictions. We don't need to move our meetings back there yet. We'll continue with our Zoom meetings for now.
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       Created 4/1/21 by Ronald Horii, secretary of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park
    Funding provided by a Beautify San Jose Grant