Alden Johanson, Mount Hermon’s chief operating officer and Nate Pfefferkorn, the Director of Adventure and Recreational Programs gave an hour-long presentation about the plans to nearly 100 community members Tuesday, Feb. 12.
“This is a huge asset at our disposal as Mount Hermon decides how to use it,” Johanson said.
The plan for the meadow includes three zones.
n The first would be an expansion of Redwood Camp, the elementary and middle-school aged facility that borders East Zayante Road. The zone would include a walking bridge over the road to connect the meadow and existing camp properties. It would also feature a recreational field, a bouldering wall and an area for target sports such as archery and slingshot.
n The second zone would include a community day camp that would run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the summer and likely in the afternoons after school. A building would be constructed to house all the things needed to support the day camp.
n Zone three would include an “aerial adventure course,” like a ropes course; several sets of cycling trails, including downhill cycling and a pump track; a community garden; a splash zone water feature; and 136 parking spots near the Felton Faire shopping center on Graham Hill Road.
Pfefferkorn was especially excited by the bike park features, which would offer cyclists flow trails with banked turns and bumps, a skills loop and a pump track.
“A lot of off-road cycling (in Santa Cruz County) is illegal,” Pfefferkorn said. “They’re hungry for a home where they can do things and not get into trouble.”
Pfefferkorn said all the buildings and structures would be built to match the natural landscape by using wood and metals that blend.
Several audience members voiced concern about water use on the property — one of the reasons a previously envisioned 55-unit housing project failed to be built there. Johanson said that the fewest number of bathrooms on the property would be used, and drought-resistant plants would likely be used for landscaping.
Other concern was the height of an aerial adventure course that would be built along a hill along East Zayante Road. Exact details of the height were not available during the presentation.
The meadow was recently fenced, but Mount Hermon plans to open the meadow day-use visitors and allow campers to use the property as part of its programming. Staff members said it’s too early to say what type of benefits Mount Hermon residents would receive, specifically.
Pfefferkorn said the plans are a way to draw people of all ages, but especially younger families, to the Mount Hermon camps.
“We’re hoping to draw some more tourists to the valley — and for the local community, we hope it’s a place to spend time with families,” Pfefferkorn said.
He noted the plan would likely take five to seven years to fully build.
Mount Hermon staff has begun meeting with county officials regarding permitting. The initial stages would be funded by private donations, and later on use fees would help pay for the facility.