California Native Plant Society
Santa Cruz County Chapter

General Meeting
Monday November 13
Keying Club 5:00 pm
Presentation 7:30 pm

UCSC Arboretum Horticulture Building
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz

Ken Hickman
Mount Umunhum - A Botanically Significant Summit - Now Open After 60 Years

images/um summit rocks.jpg

At 3,486 feet, Mount Umunhum is one of the highest peaks of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and also one of the most mysterious. Overlooking the Santa Clara Valley, with views of Monterey Bay, Mount Tamalpais, Mount Diablo, Mount Hamilton, and even the Sierra on a clear day, the summit is the former site of the Almaden Air Force Station, one of forty-four NORAD radar posts built in the 1950s to protect the west during the Cold War.

But in September, after sixty years and extensive restoration by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) and the Army Corps of Engineers, this iconic "hummingbird rest," and its amazing ophiolitic outcrops, scree slopes and serpentine-influenced plant communities, opened to the public and formally took up the mantle as a must-see destination, and the highest peak on the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

This talk and photo tour will detail the flora and fauna that researcher Ken Hickman and botanist John Rawlings have documented in-person, and with camera traps around Umunhum's summit, canyons, and new trails, over the last three seasons of restoration.

Ken is a naturalist and wildlife researcher with a specialty in camera trapping, and a CNPSer with a love of botany. He's been building high-quality camera traps and assisting and conducting wildlife surveys in California for over seven years, including projects in the the Santa Cruz Mountains, Tehachapis, Carrizo Plain and Mono County, with MROSD, San Mateo County Parks, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Forest Service.