Project: Alum Rock Park - City of San Jose
Photo Album: 1612 Alum Rock San Jose City Park
On Saturday, December 3, we had a huge turnout of volunteers and staff to work on the Sycamore Switchbacks Trail.
The weather was clear, with temperatures in the high 40’s at the outset and in the mid 60’s when the workday ended. Following November rains, the soil was quite workable. The work area was almost entirely under tree cover.
Volunteers parked in the Youth Science Institute lot, and Ranger Mike Peasland opened the gate at 8:00 am to allow Dave with the tool trailer and Lianna with the snacks to access the staging area at Sycamore Picnic Grove, immediately adjacent to the Sycamore Switchbacks trailhead.
Approximately 70 volunteers helped make the day a success. Matt and Bart from San Jose Parks and Recreation supervised 20 middle school students and their 4 accompanying adults, removing slough on South Woodland Trail during the morning. Three Trail Center crew leaders supervised the remaining volunteers (including 26 students from Santa Clara University) beginning at the lower trailhead of Sycamore Switchbacks Trail. Crew leader Dave C. was assisted by Kathy in the lower portion, Judd was assisted by Julio in the middle leg, and Woody was assisted by Larry at the upper end. Each crew had a similar scope: brushing, slough removal, definition of inside bench, repair of drain trenches and insloping at switchbacks, and fixing or adding drain dips as required. The work progressed up to Switchback 7 (the location of the seating benches and interpretive sign), approximately 0.4 miles from the lower trailhead.
The steep canyon wall, with the trail doubling back almost on top of itself, presented the potential hazard for dislodging rocks onto lower work areas. The crew leaders did an exceptional job of managing this risk by coordinating relative positions of the crews and staggering them when necessary.
We look forward to returning to Alum Rock to complete similar scope on the upper 0.3 mile portion of Sycamore Switchbacks Trail and possibly to brush South Rim Trail immediately east and west of its junction with Sycamore Switchbacks.
Thanks to Ranger Huy Mac for coordinating with us on this project, walking the whole route during scouting, promoting the event via the park kiosks, ensuring availability of the Sycamore Picnic Grove, and closing the trail during the work. Thanks also to Matt, Bart, and Ranger Mike for their help throughout the day.