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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, 2016 news.)

  2017 News:

Cait with lichens
On 1/28/17, docent Cait Hutnik led a lichen discovery hike at the Wood Road entrance.

Trail closures
Seen on 3/6/17, the Hacienda Trail between the Norton and English Camp Trails was closed due to landslides. The Randol Trail is also closed, but that's customary for winter. For trail closure information, call (408) 355-2200. 2017's storms have severely impacted parks and trails all throughout Santa Clara County.

Our Parks, Our Future
The Santa Clara County Parks is updating their Strategic Plan in 2017. It was last updated in 2003. These are their goals:
  • Update the Long-Range Vision.
  • Assess key systems, procedures, policies, facilities, trends, and conditions in a comprehensive Needs Assessment.
  • Present Refined Procedural and Policy Guidelines to make standard operating processes clearer, faster, and more effective.
  • Assess the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) process and develop new Priority-Setting Criteria that integrate consideration of operational costs.
  • Develop a 3-5 year Action Plan for near-term implementation of the Integrated CIP.
See for more information.

The input of the people who live, work, and/or play in Santa Clara County is critical to the Strategic Plan Update.  Opportunities to provide your input during the planning process will be posted on the website and will include:

Online Engagement. Provide your input by completing a short activity on your computer or device. The first activity is planned for Spring, 2017 and will be posted on the website.

Events. Visit the Strategic Plan Update table when attending a regional event. The table will provide information as well as opportunities to provide your comments. The first events that will include a Strategic Plan table are anticipated for Spring 2017 and will be posted on the calendar.

Meetings.  Attend a public meeting where the Strategic Plan will be presented and discussed. Meetings will include Parks & Recreation Commission (PRC), Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee (HLUET), and Board of Supervisors meetings.  All meetings will be posted on the calendar.

Kitty Monahan interviewed on C-Span
On February 6, 2017, C-Span interviewed Luke Bailey and Kitty Monahan for a story about mining in San Jose. It was part of their 2017 Local Content Vehicles tour of San Jose, featuring the history and literary life of the community.

Lacers at Living History Day, 3/11/17
The Golden Gate Lacers had a display on lacing at Living History Day on 3/11/17.

La Foret Restaurant
After 38 years, the La Foret Restaurant closed. The last day of service was on March 26, 2017. Chef John Davoudi and his business partner Mike Mashayekh opened the restaurant in 1978 in the historic Hacienda Hotel building. The closure was due to Chef Davoudi's retirement for health reasons. The hotel was built in 1848 and rebuilt in 1875 after a fire. It was the first two-story hotel in California. It because a boardinghouse for miners from the Almaden Mines. In the 1930s, it became Cafe Del Rio, which operated for 40 years. Here is the story. Buyers have expressed interest in the property, so there may be another restaurant here in the future.

Billboard on St. John at Market
This billboard is on St. John Street, east of Market Street in downtown San Jose. It shows the Castillero Trail in Almaden Quicksilver. Ron Horii took the picture. It is part of the County Parks' "Wish you were here?" publicity campaign. Pictures of County Parks are on billboards and the backs of buses all throughout San Jose, mostly in heavily urbanized areas. The campaign started in May and will run until the end of July. Here are pictures of all the billboards.

The same picture of the Castillero Trail is on the back of this bus.

View of the Pfeiffer Property
On May 9, 2017, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority announced it had purchased the 51.78-acre Pfeiffer Property in the Santa Teresa Hills, overlooking the Almaden Valley. Here is a view of the property in the Santa Teresa Hills, as seen from the Mine Hill Trail in Almaden Quicksilver. Here is a presentation about it.

Play Like a Miner Group Shot
On 5/12/17, volunteers and staff who will be working at "Play Like a Miner" met at the Casa Grande to go over plans for the event, which will be held on 6/24/17. Here are some of the staff and volunteers.

Mural on wall on Almaden Road
Mural on Almaden Road
Middle of mural on Almaden Road
Description of this mural from "Roger Papesh commissioned Andrea “Ange” Cox to do a collection of scenes chosen by the artist from the early history of the New Almaden Mine. A 4 foot by 36 foot mural was created on a cement wall next to 21744 Almaden Road, San Jose, California, which is across from the Hacienda entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The mural is a small representation of the 170+ years of New Almaden history in art and literature."

Cougar Talk, Mockingbird Hill Lane, 5/27/17
On 5/27/17, Ranger Gina Ellis gave a talk about cougars at the Mockingbird Hill Lane Staging Area of Almaden Quicksilver.

On 6/2/17, Mike Boulland and Ron Horii met with Michele Dexter of San Jose Parks and two members of the Chinese community, Adam and Jenny, who were interested in the restoration of the Chinese pagoda, also known as the tea house, that was on the grounds of the Casa Grande. It was a gift from the Chinese emperor, who was grateful for the mercury from Almaden Mines.

We found out the Chinese call this type of pavilion a "ting," which also means cooling kiosk. It is a resting place and is very common in China. Mike gave a slideshow presentation about the building project. Adam has connections in China that may be interested in supporting it.

Rancho San Vicente Dedication 6/3/17
On 6/3/17, there was a dedication ceremony for the Lisa Killough Trail in the new Rancho San Vicente addition to Calero County Park. Above is the ribbon-cutting for the trail, which was named in honor of Lisa Killough, who was the director of the County Parks. She was instrumental in the acquisition of Rancho San Vicente. She was appreciative of volunteers and frequently came to events, such as Pioneer Day. (Here are pictures of Lisa Killough at park events.) Sadly, she died of cancer on February 22, 2016. A memorial service was held in her honor at the Casa Grande on April 30, 2016. Rancho San Vicente will be open to the public later this year. Connections to Almaden Quicksilver are being studied.

Washout on the Hacienda Trail
The Hacienda Trail was closed this winter after a half of it washed down the hill. The trail is open again, but there are signs warning about it. This is the washed out section (taken on 6/5/17).

NAQCPA Board at Roberto Adobe
On 6/10/17, NAQCPA members got a tour of the historic Roberto Adobe & Sunol House on Lincoln Avenue. Here is the history of the building. (Picture from Mike Boulland.)

Play Like a Miner, 7/7/17
Play Like a Miner was held at the Casa Grande on 6/24/17. Here are more pictures of the event.

San Cristobal Mine closure
The San Cristobal Mine entrance is currently closed due to damage to the tunnel's ceiling. It is being repaired. (Picture taken 8/7/17.)

Solar-powered horse trough at Wood Road Trailhead
There is a new horse trough at the Wood Road Trail staging area on Hicks Road. It uses a solar-powered pump to fill the trough.

Calcine removal sign
These signs are posted at park trailheads. It lists temporary trail closures for the project to remove calcines (processed mercury ore) from old mine roads in the park, which are now used as trails. Here's what the Parks Department says about it: "Contractors will begin to remove the concentrated calcine waste material that was used to pave many of the access trails. In addition, after removal of this waste material and deposited in an on-site protected landfill, the trails will be remediated with a baserock material mixed, graded and compacted. By removing such calcine material, it will prevent further runoff and contamination of the waterways leading to the Guadalupe River and San Francisco Bay. The construction project will begin during the third week of June, 2017 and conclude in the third week of October 2017. Mine Hill Trail originating from the Hacienda Park Entrance will be open during construction, however, this trail will be the main route for construction vehicle and heavy loaded truck access. Access will be limited with periodic closures of the following trails: Mine Hill Trail, Castillero Trail, April Trail, Randol Trail and Yellow Kid Trail. Detour signs will be posted at key locations along these trails." Here is more information:

Calcine removal work on the Mine Hill Trail
This is the Mine Hill Trail near the San Cristobal Mine (taken 8/7/17). Calcines have been removed from the trail surface. On the left are rolls of wattles, which will be used as part of the restoration of the trail.

La Foret Restaurant undergoing renovation
The La Foret restaurant has been sold to local restaurateurs and is currently undergoing renovation. It will re-open under the same name and will keep its famous French and continental menu. (Picture taken 8/7/17.)

Woods Trail, Mt. Umunhum Road
This is the trailhead for the Woods Trail, next to Mt. Umunhum Road (currently closed for construction). It is across Hicks Road from the Wood Road Trail entrance to Almaden Quicksilver. The Woods Trail or Mt. Umunhum Road can be taken to reach the summit of Mt. Umunhum, which is on the right. It will have a grand opening on September 17. It will be open to the public on September 18. (Picture taken 8/8/17.)

Volunteer Recognition BBQ, 8/12/17

Volunteer Recognition BBQ, 8/12/17
On 8/12/17, the Volunteer Recognition Barbecue was held at the Casa Grande. Volunteers were treated to a barbecue lunch and recognized for their service. Here is the list of lifetime volunteer service hours. 

Chinese pagoda poles
On 8/25/17, a group of volunteers, including NAQCPA members, interested parties from the Chinese and New Almaden community, and Rotary Club representatives, met at the parking lot of the Casa Grande to examine and document the poles from the historic Chinese Pagoda. It was originally a gift of the Chinese emperor (see above). It was destroyed in a flood. All that's left are these poles and a piece of the screen, which is in the museum.

New Almaden Day Parade, 9/9/17
On 9/9/17, the annual New Almaden Day Jump-In Parade was held. Here are pictures from the parade: Part 1, Part 2,

New Almaden Day Carnival, 9/9/17
On 9/9/17, on New Almaden Day, after the parade, a carnival was held at the New Almaden Community Center. Here are pictures of the carnival.

Mt. Umunhum Opening
On 9/17/17, there was a grand opening for Mt. Umunhum. The event was free, but it required a ticket. Tickets "sold out" in only 9 minutes after they were made available. Since parking at the top was limited and was being used for the celebration, participants were bused in from staging areas. One of them was the Hacienda Area overflow lot at Almaden Quicksilver. Guests were dropped of at the top of Mt. Umunhum. They got to tour the new facilities on top of the mountain. Some groups went on guided hikes down the new 3.6 mile trail from the mountaintop to the Bald Mountain staging area, where buses took them back to the Hacienda Area. Here are pictures of the tour of the mountaintop facilities. Here are pictures of the new Mt. Umunhum Trail. Now that the mountaintop is open, there are large crowds trying to go up there on weekends, only to find the parking lots at the top and at Bald Mountain full, along with the small Woods Trail lot on Hicks Road. People have been parking across Hicks Road at Almaden Quicksilver's Wood Road Entrance, filling up the lot and boxing in equestrian trailers. Equestrians may want to avoid the Wood Road entrance on weekends until the crowds going to Mt. Umunhum thin out.
Mountain Lion sign at McAbee entrance
This mountain lion warning sign was posted at the park entrance at the end of McAbee Road.

Art Boudreault at Pioneer Day 10-14-17
On 10/14/17, NAQCPA celebrated its 35th anniversary at its annual Pioneer Day Celebration. It was held at the Hacienda Outdoor Mining Display. Mike Cox was the Master of Ceremonies. County Parks Director Robb Courtney thanked NAQCPA for their years of service to the park. Art Boudreault (above) and Don Weidon talked about the history of NAQCPA. John Drew and Larry Drew Hawkinson talked about their families, who worked in the New Almaden Mines. Entertainment was provided by the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association. Katie Mapes Dini served lunch. Jim Campbell displayed his artwork. There were lots of raffle prizes.

Living History Day, 11/18/17, Casa Grande
On 11/18/17, Holiday Living History Day was held at the Casa Grande. Docents Jim and Kathy have a leather-punching and bead necklace-making activity above. See here for more pictures.

Mapbox sign
There are signs on map boxes saying the map inventory is low. There is a QR code on the sign that can be scanned to download a PDF of the map.

Restroom signboard
There's a new information station on the restroom at the Hacienda entrance to the park. It has a bulletinboard and map holders. The restroom was closed for awhile due to plumbing problems. It's open again

Copyright New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association 

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