Friends of Santa Teresa Park Zoom Meeting, 9/2/21


    • Attendees: Mike Boulland, Kitty Monahan, Greg Koopman, Joan Murphy, Marilyn August, Steve Crockett, 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.
    • There's a kingsnake event on 9/14 at the Bernal Ranch from 6:30pm-7:00pm, by Park Interpreter Rob McDonnell. It's already full.
    • Vaccination certification, including proof of vaccination, is required for County volunteers. Julie Lee sent out an online form to fill out and submit.
    • Patrick Joice passed away.on 8/18/21. He was the last rancher and descendant of the Bernal Family at Rancho Santa Teresa, before selling it to IBM, who later sold it to the County. Mike remembers Patrick showing him places around the ranch, where his grandfather would take him. He showed historic family pictures. His grandfather worked in the Edenvale stables and married a Bernal family descendant. Patrick built the house next to the BGJ Ranch, where his ex-wife still lives. He came to several of the Fandango events and talked about what it was like to live on the ranch. At the 2018 La Fuente, he brought his family and showed old family pictures. We should send a card to his family.
    • For our August 6 work day, we weeded the garden boxes and pruned the pomegranate tree by the ranch house. Mike Boulland, Youngmee Kim, Marilyn August, Joan Murphy and Ron Horii were there.
    • There is no work day this Friday because of the Labor Day weekend holiday. We moved it to the following week, 9/10/21. See the agenda for work items. Jeremy Celaya of Park Maintenance said it's OK to use AC-powered weed trimmers. Melissa Ortiz is in charge of maintenance at the ranch while Jeremy is on leave. She was informed about the change of our work day. We will leave the name of our work day as First Friday. We have to inform Maintenance if we change it to another day. Our next work day is 10/1. Since that's before our next meeting, we'll have to email people with instructions.
    • We talked about removing the leftover power lines and poles that used to go to the abandoned microwave relay station on the Coyote Peak Trail.  The building had become vandalized and was torn down many years ago. Only a concrete pad remains. The wooden power poles are still there, along with the wires.They are an eyesore, which is why we are proposing that they be removed. They detract from the natural landscape. There are 10 poles, and they are numbered. Greg has pictures of the numbers. The power lines are probably not energized. The poles are along the hillside above the Rocky Ridge Trail and appear to eventually go down to the private ranch at the end of Schillingsburg Avenue. An old service road starts near the Country View Drive entrance, parallels the Rocky Ridge Trail, and goes down to this ranch. Only the poles in the park should be removed. The poles run close to the old road, but most are not directly accessible from the road or trail. They can be removed using ATV's. The poles are in sensitive serpentine habitats, so removing them will have to be done with care and will probably need involvement of the park department's natural resources manager. Ron showed pictures of the old microwave station pad, Country View Drive, the power poles, the Rocky Ridge Trail, the old road, and the ranch at the end of Schillingsburg Ave. Jason Gorman in maintenance was asked about the poles, but he said he needs help finding who owns them. PG&E may have that information, as well as a map of the poles.
    • Joan was concerned about the effects of the drought on wildlife. Many creeks are dry. Animals have to travel farther to find water. Some creeks still have water in them, like Calero Creek, and the creek below the Pueblo Area. Parts of Santa Teresa that have cattle grazing have cattle troughs, which have water. The horse trough at the Pueblo Area has water, but the one at the Laurel Canyon Rest Area is dry. Joan suggested trucking in water to help the wildlife and horses.
    • Rebecca Coates-Maldoon, the Countywide Trails Program Manager requested volunteer help to assess the signage along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail in the County Parks. The Ron has been taking pictures in several parks, including Santa Teresa. The Anza Trail in Santa Teresa mostly follows the Bay Area Ridge Trail from the Stile Ranch Trail to Coyote Peak. Ron noticed a problem with the Anza route, which was designated by the National Parks Service. The Coyote Peak Trail from the Rocky Ridge Trail to the Country View Drive entrance is part of the route. The Country View Drive entrance is a dead end and not a legal entrance. It has turned into a dumping ground, with trash and grafitti everywhere outside the park. Ron recommends that the Anza Trail stop at Coyote Peak or at the Rocky Ridge Trail.
    • Ron showed pictures: Patrick Joice at past events, our August work day, our tool cabinet, the new staff member at the ranch: Katrina Semene, graffiti on the rocks on the Rocky Ridge Trail, the new memorial bench for garden designer Pat Pizzo at the native plant garden in Hellyer, areas that need cleanup and have already been cleaned up around the Bernal Ranch and the spring, views of the new trail, conditions on the Norred Trail, tree and bush trimming on Bernal Road by the golf course, and a new memorial bench on the Joice Trail.
    • Carolyn Schimandle, manager of interpretive programs at Martial Cottle and the Bernal Ranch, said that school programs have started again. 
    • The Bernal Ranch house is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.from 10 to 4. The problem is that the park is busiest outside those hours. Ron wondered if the house would get more visitation if it were open earlier and/or later.
    • We have $1722.17 in our account. We need to pay Yahoo for our website and Zoom, which is about $700. We need to re-allocate funds in our BeautifySJ Grant account. We need to submit a change request. For purposes of the grant, our activities need to be more community-oriented.
    • For the issue of parking fees at the Pueblo Area, we need to know attendance data. Ron has counted cars, but that varies greatly with the day of the week, time of day, and the weather. Sometimes the lots are empty, then groups come in and fill up the lots. The lots were full during the pandemic, when parking was free. Usage declined when fees were reinstated, but that coincided with relaxation of COVID restrictions, resulting in lower park attendance everywhere, including parks that don't charge parking fees. 
    • We have been cleaning up the garden boxes so they can be planted, but who is going to take responsibility for them? Originally it was 4H. Later, it was the Girl Scouts. Some community members were planting some of the boxes for awhile. The Master Gardners may be willing to help. Dave Zitlow, who is the lead volunteet at Martial Cottle, is willing to talk to us. We can invite him to our next meeting. Mike will set it up.
    • The problem with the garden boxes is that Bermuda grass is invading through the cracks. The boxes were orignally built from recycled park benches. They are lined with weed cloth, but the weeds have been growing between the sides and the cloth, then growing around or through the weedcloth into the soil. We need to figure out how to keep the weeds from invading.
    • We have a tool shed at the ranch. It's an old utility box that's full of tools. They haven't been used in years, so they need cleaning and derusting. We could use a donation of tools.
    • Marilyn and Joan are on the Curie Drive Trail Picnic Committee. When the trail is complete, we want to have an informal celebration. Mike will give a tour. We can give out snacks, sourvenirs, handouts, and newsletters. We don't know the completion date. It was supposed to be in September, but it's been pushed out to October.
    • We need to work on our next newsletter. Possible topics: the new trail, the history of the bull and bear fights, a memorial to Patrick Joice, the memorial benches in the park, our work days, and usage of the park during the pandemic. We should emphasize our work for the community.
    • The Parks Department is looking for names for the new trail. Ron submitted a list of potential names, with pros and cons. We talked about that list of names and decided that we liked the Bear Tree Trail, Oso Trail, and Muwekma Trail the best.
    • Kitty said there is no New Almaden Day because of the pandemic. They want to hold a Pioneer Day at the Casa Grande to honor the members of NAQCPA who have passed away.
    • The Casa Grande is open from 11-4 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They have had air conditioning problems, which has made some parts of the building unavailable for use, but the second (museum level) is open. They are working on a volunteer plan.
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       Created 9/15/21 by Ronald Horii, secretary of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park
    Funding provided by a Beautify San Jose Grant