In 1951 the military bulldozed Mount Tamalpais’s west peak to put in a radar station and barracks for 300 people. Six decades later, the military installation has long been abandoned, but remnants of the structures, power lines, pipes and construction debris remain on the 106-acre stretch of mountaintop. “The Invisible Peak,” a short documentary about the junk perched on Mount Tamalpais, has raised the call for cleanup.

The Invisible Peak 1920×1080 full HD from Gary Yost on Vimeo.

Gary Yost, producer and cinematographer of "The Invisible Peak"
Mike Swezy, watershed manager for the Marin Municipal Water District

  • Vlad

    The place beautiful – it has infrastructure in place, which cost millions of dollars to either build or undo. Why not create a state/county park so people can come and the enjoy beauty themselves? What would be the better lesson even if relics of cold war are still present and tell about the past.

  • Robert Thomas

    Cyra McFadden, we hardly new ye.

    Why should we be surprised that a particular vista peak (SAGE-ID Z-38, 1951) shouldn’t have been spared the burden of missile defense?

    I can’t conceive of such low tones being expended over restoration of Mt. Umunhum.

    Is this an appropriate venue for criticizing the historical efficacy of defense systems of the cold war? Hindsight is uncommonly good.

  • Guest

    What is the risk to hikers of the serpentine rock dust?

    • Robert Thomas

      Thirty years ago I wondered the same thing after trudging up the scree trail from the Schwartzee to the SAC Hörnlihütte on the north ridge of the Matterhorn. That entire mountain is one big pointy piece of serpentine.

  • Amanda Stupi

    Here is the interview with Eric Schlosser about his book “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety” that was referenced during the show:

  • Allison Zelles Lloyd

    Amazing time-lapsed filming. So fulfilling to know the history. I am very grateful to the club that worked on restoration. Angel Island recently had its peak bulldozed back into place. Perhaps, jack-hammering the concrete and mixing it in with the dirt to restore the peak is an option?
    Absolutely love the Miwok song at the end! Might teach it to my students!

  • Barbara Bowman

    The Invisible Peak will be shown at The Image Flow in Mill Valley, Thursday February 27 at 7pm. Filmmakers Gary Yost, George Daly and Jamie Clay will be discussing the film and answering questions.

  • Debbie Dorosin

    Not long after the air force left, my husband Lee Dorosin and some sierra club buddies found a break in the fence and crawled under to the base. Awed by the views, they contacted the air force to gain legal access. They refused. So the hikers wrote Barbara Boxer, our representative and a member of the armed services committee. She pulled the right strings, and the base was opened, and asbestos removal was begun, in conjunction with the other activists. Debbie Dorosin

  • Bonnie Mangum Hilarides

    It is interesting that we perceive the ability to return the mountain to it’s natural state after the years and scars that run deep. I always wonder what ground do the remains go into such as landfills, that is any less sacred than the mountain itself. It was all important to someone else 5,000 years ago. My hope is that we can all share in the sacredness of mother earth everywhere and be more conscience of our mass destructions and abundance of garbage that is distributed everywhere. Thanks to those who have been diligent is setting the wrongs done into good deeds for all to share in Mount Tamalpais and spirit therein.

  • Jyllzie

    I have been hiking up to the ruins from Lagunitas for years. I find it a magical spot just as it is…I see it more as part of our history than toxic destruction. Maybe I would feel differently if my ancestors were buried there…I personally would rather see the money spent on the education of the site rather than restoration…as long as it’s safe, of course.

  • Frequentshopper

    Who gave these people permission to be removing asbestos without proper methods? Why is that left out by the director? Who if anyone gave these people permission to destroy the buildings that represent an important part of history? Why is that left out of the doc? Where was all that stuff dumped? This doc goes out of it’s way to pick and chose who to criticize. Very PC. I like the way the place looked with the old run down buildings. Looked better than Alameda Naval Air Station does now. If the fence is keeping people from visiting then remove the fence and leave everything else. I and many others like the remnants of previous military construction around both sides of the Golden Gate. This seems like a propaganda film designed to get politicians to appropriate ungodly amounts of taxpayer money to turn back time to benefit the 1% in NIMBY Marin County when there are far more important uses. I don’t recall the “toxic waste” being specified. I know Peter Coyote lives in Marin County. Does Michael Krasny live there too, cause this was a waste of valuable air time? Oh, yes, my instincts were right. He does live there too.

    Also in the interest of full disclosure I would also like to have known who paid for all the outrageously expensive animation for this short film?

  • Frequentshopper

    If we don’t let the 1% Marin County dictate our priorities to the politicians through propaganda films like this we could choose to spend that 8 millions dollars to clean up severely contaminated parts of Alameda Naval Air Station like the area that is right next door to the track, football, baseball and soccer fields of Encinal High School where kids must attend by law, not by choice. The former naval base next door has concrete poured down the floor drains for a reason.

    Too bad the rich person that paid for all the outrageously expensive cgi in this film did not put that toward removal of the alleged “toxic waste” on Mt. Tamalpais.

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