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New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association

Welcome to the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association (NAQCPA) website. Our purpose is to promote the educational and interpretive activities of the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department, particularly in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. This page is an archive of past news. (See here for 2015 news and 2017 news.)

  2016 News:

Anza Expedition Hike, 3/26/16
On March 26, 2016, there was a hike on the Mine Hill and English Camp Trails. It was led by National Park Service Ranger Daniel Sanchez, accompanied by County Parks Interpreter Chris Carson Seals and docent Ron Horii. Daniel has been leading hikes to talk about the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail and the Anza Expedition of 1775-1776, which brought the first European colonists to settle San Francisco. Here are pictures from the hike.

Lisa Killough Memorial
On April 30, 2016, a memorial service was held at the Casa Grande for Lisa Killough, former director of the Santa Clara County Parks Dept. She spent 25 years with the department and became director in 2002. She passed away on February 22, 2016. Here is her obituary. Here are pictures of Lisa taken by Ron Horii from 2002 to 2011 at park events. One of the last events she attended at Almaden Quicksilver was Pioneer Day in 2011, when she returned temporarily at interim park director.

V-O-Cal work on the New Almaden Trail
On May 20-22, V-O-Cal, the Volunteers for Outdoor California, held a multi-trail trail construction event at Almaden Quicksilver and the Rancho San Vicente addition to Calero. They camped out at the Mockingbird Lane Staging Area. They worked all day on Saturday and half a day on Sunday. There were about 80 people there on Saturday, less on Sunday. The largest crew worked on this section of the New Almaden Trail shown above just past the Buena Vista Trail junction. They removed a worn-out bridge, built a rock crossing, and re-routed the trail to the new crossing. Other crews worked farther along the trail near the Prospect #3 Trail junction, widening the trail and improving the drainage. See here for pictures of the event.

Yes On Parks logo
The Park Charter Fund was up for renewal on the June 7 ballot as Measure A. The County Parks are funded by the Park Charter Fund, which is not a tax, but is a fixed percentage of the County's budget. Measure A increases that slightly, but more importantly, it re-balances the expenditures between land acquisition and park development, changing it from the current 15%:5% to 10%:10%, respectively. See the Yesonparks website for more information. The measure has passed with over 78% yes. It only needed a majority vote.

Mt. Umunhum Radar Tower
On May 10, 2016, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, in a motion introduced by Supervisor Mike Wasserman, voted unanimously to list the radar tower on Mt. Umunhum in the County's Heritage Resource Inventory. On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, the board of the MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District voted on and approved a recommendation by their General Manager to preserve and seal the tower. The Umunhum Conservancy, which worked to raise private donations to preserve the tower, plans to meet with MidPen to discuss their role in the future.

Open Road TV episode on the Parks for Life Challenge
The Casa Grande was shown on an episode of NBC Bay Area's Open Road TV show, hosted by Doug McConnell. The episode featured the County Parks' Parks for Life Challenge.

Robb Courtney being interviewed by Doug McConnell
As part of this episode, County Parks Director Robb Courtney was interviewed by Doug McConnell at the Casa Grande.

Panning for treasures at "Play Like a Miner"
Visitors got to act like 49'ers and pan for hidden treasures during "Play Like a Miner" at the Casa Grande on 6/18/16. Activities for visitors were arranged in and around the Casa Grande.

Ron Horii being interviewed by Doug McConnell for the "Open Road" TV show.
Ron Horii was interviewed by Doug McConnell for Doug's "Open Road" TV show on NBC Bay Area. They showed Ron's pictures of County Parks, including Almaden Quicksilver, Open Space preserves, and his photo classes.

Trail closure sign, 6/30/16
Signs like this have been posted at the trail entrances to Almaden Quicksilver. Here is the announcement: "Due to construction of restoration improvements in the Senador Mine Watershed area the Senador Mine trail will be closed from July 11 through October during restoration improvements.  Entrance from McAbee Road will direct hikers, bicyclists and equestrian riders to Mine Hill Trail, Guadalupe Trail, and New Almaden Trail.  Detour signs will be posted at key locations along these trails.  In addition, Mine Hill Trail will be closed on designated weekdays during truck hauling operations. Please call the trail hotline for the most current information regarding closures at 408-355-2200." Here is the trail closure map.

Chuck Ferrier at Living History Day, 7/2/16
Blacksmith Chuck Ferrier demonstrates a tool for setting metal rim tires on wooden wagon wheels at "Living History Day" at the Casa Grande on 7/2/16.

Ringing the Hacienda bell on the 4th of July
Visitors to the New Almaden 4th of July 2016 celebration got to ring the bell at the Hacienda Area. Because of the risk of disturbing wildlife, the bell can only be rung a few times a year at special occasions. This was one of them.

4th of July 2016 picnic at the New Amaden Community Center
A potluck community picnic was held on July 4, 2016 at the New Almaden Community Center.

New stone pathway at the Casa Grande
There is a new stone pathway at the Casa Grande, providing pedestrian access in the middle of the fence on Almaden Road. It was built by NAQCPA volunteers with leftover paving stones from the Casa Grande construction. Pioneer Day will be held on Oct. 8 at the Casa Grande, celebrating the construction of the pathway.

Senador Mine Trail Closure, 8/1/16
The Senador Mine Trail was closed due to construction on 8/1/16. This gate was near the New Almaden Trail junction.

Senador Mine site construction
Construction crews and equipment at the Senador Mine site, 8/1/16.

Closure of the Upper end of the Senador Mine Trail, 8/1/16
This was the closure of the upper end of the Senador Mine Trail at the Guadalupe Trail junction on 8/1/16.

Replacement Sign at the Mine Hill/Senador Mine Trail junction
The interpretive sign at the Mine Hill/Senador Mine Trail junction was faded and unreadable. It's been replaced.

Water Tower at the Casa Grande
NAQCPA will be working with the County Parks to restore the water tank on top of the water tower in the backyard of the Casa Grande.

Supervisor Mike Wasserman and Assemblymember Mark Stone at the Casa Grande
On 8/27/16, State Assemblymember Mark Stone and Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman hosted a free breakfast and tour at the Casa Grande. Afterwards, docent Mike Boulland gave a walking tour of New Almaden, while park Interpretive Programs supervisor Julie Lee gave a tour of the Casa Grande.

Volunteer Recognition BBQ 8/27/16
On 8/27/16, the County Parks' Volunteer Recognition Barbecue luncheon was held at Martial Cottle Park. Here are Almaden Quicksilver docents (left to right) John Atwood, Mary Moran, Kathy Kessler, John Drew, and Jim Beseau. Behind Jim is Susan Wicks.

Pierce Ridge has been sold
Taken on 9/6/16: the For Sale sign for Pierce Ridge at the McAbee Road entrance to the park indicates the property has been sold. Unfortunately, it was not sold to the County Parks, so it won't be added to Almaden Quicksilver, at least not in the near future.

Dump truck on the Senador Mine Trail
9/6/16: Construction and clean-up efforts are still going on at the Senador Mine site. The Senador Mine Trail is closed during construction between the New Almaden Trail and the Guadalupe Trail. Trucks have been moving contaminated dirt out and clean dirt in. Construction will continue until October. This is what's happening: "Senador Mine: County Parks has completed design plans to reduce erosion of mercury mining wastes at Senador Mine. This project is funded by U.S. EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund. The project will restore a headcut and other targeted features in a creek channel, remediate several small calcine piles (piles of roasted mercury ores), and reduce erosion of mercury mining wastes. Nearly 300 pounds of mercury will be removed or stabilized. Construction is expected to be undertaken and completed in the 2016 dry season."

Piano at the Casa Grande
Bach to Nature III: For the 3rd consecutive year, 5 pianos have been placed in County Parks for people to play from 9/5 through 10/5/16. This one is on the patio deck behind the Casa Grande. Others are at Vasona, Grant, Uvas Canyon, and Coyote Lake. Anyone can drop by and play the pianos, but they may be reserved for performances by calling 408-355-2201. The pianos are the result of a partnership with Sunset Piano and DC Pianos of Berkeley. There will be a free community concert headlined by Sunset Piano at Vasona on 10/2 from 4 to 6 pm.

New Almaden Jump-In Parade, 9/10/16
The annual New Almaden Day and Jump-In Parade was held on 9/10/16. Floats, decorated vehicles, bicyclists, and walkers jumped in and paraded around New Almaden, starting and ending at the New Almaden Community Center. Afterwards, there was a carnival and BBQ lunch at the Community Center with games and entertainment.

Pathway dedication on Pioneer Day 10/8/16
Pioneer Day was held on 10/8/16 at the Casa Grande. The theme was the dedication of this brick pathway leading from Almaden Road to the Casa Grande parking lot.

Patricia Johnson Memorial Bench 10/8/16
Patricia Johnson's family poses at the bench in front of the Casa Grande dedicated to her memory.

Senador Mine site after restoration
This was taken on 11/5/16. The restoration at the Senador Mine site has been completed. What remains are temporary and permanent erosion control, such as hay spread on bare ground, wattles on hillsides, and rock drains. Here are more pictures.

Senador Mine site restoration
This shows new plantings of coyote brush and netting on the hillside to control erosion at the Senador Mine site.

Quicksilver Holiday Boutique, 11/19/16
The annual Almaden Quicksilver Holiday Boutique was held at the Casa Grande on 11/19/16. There were lots of exhibitors and visitors.

Copyright New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association 

For more information, contact our webmaster, Ron Horii. Updated 8/7/18.