San Tomas Aquino Trail mowing

San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail Santa Clara CA

The Santa Clara Valley Water District began mowing along the lower reaches of the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail in Santa Clara, California last Thursday. Portions of the trail may be subject to closing during mowing.

If you see a tractor on the trail with a big side-mounted mower and the trail is still open, proceed with caution — the operator is watching for trail users, but he also wants to avoid driving his tractor into the creek. If the operator feels like he can’t work safely because some jackass in a hurry just has to get past right away, the contractor will close the trail, so please don’t ruin it for the rest of us, okay?

Contractors are working roughly from north to south, although they haven’t touched the area in the immediate vicinity of Highway 237 as of this writing. This trail work will take place Monday – Saturday and will continue into July as they work through to south of Highway 101.

The City of Santa Clara notice says “trail users to be re-routed to the opposite bank and facilitate passage,” but I don’t know if that means the water district plans to open the unpaved east-bank service road, which is normally closed to the public.


  1. Yes, saw this schedule posted the other week. Now we get to see all the shredded trash around the stadium left in the mower’s wake. The stadium and city will blame the water district again for chopping up the trash (that shouldn’t be there in the first place) into tiny pieces that are too hard to pick up!

  2. I believe it was you who pointed out that the Water District warned the city of Santa Clara in the stadium EIR of the inevitable trash and suggested mitigation, and the city said “It won’t be a problem, trust us.” Right?

  3. Yes, that was the jist of the city’s response to the water district concerns. They basically said we’ll put up a sign and some trash cans and that will take care of the litter issues.

  4. Last year they announced ahead of time that they were planning to mow on what would have been the week of Bike to Work Day. I hollered back and they found a way to postpone it.

    This year they waited this late in deference to whichever bird was nesting there through the spring.

    I did cautiously pass a patient tractor operator maybe Friday morning. Last year the detour was over a short fence (person operating gates closed both sides of an underpass, unnecessarily cutting off access to the roads) and onto the not-particularly-friendly surface streets. So far this year, I have yet to see any section completely closed. I really don’t think they’re opening the other bank, though.

    As near as I can tell, the trail and the stuff outside it is the city’s. If you want trees or bushes trimmed on the side of the trail away from the creek, or if the trail right-of-way floods, report to the City of Santa Clara. For things in the creek bed itself, talk to the water district.

    Creek cleanup days tend to happen in May and September/October, and they’re always eager for volunteers. In between, feel free to pick up trash along the way and deposit it in the trash cans at the tops of each “exit.” I sometimes do, if I see some when I’m not in a rush. Yes, the stadium is a major offender, but I see water and Gatorade bottles way, way upstream from there.

    Bonus resource: the organization is trying to get people to use less disposable stuff in the first place, through their Rethink Disposable campaign. I wish them success, but they sure have a lot of work to do.

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