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Fire at Belgtos Park today

Date: Jul. 23, 2012
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Scorched earth at the "cardboard hill" area of Belagatos Park, right next to the Bacigalupi Drive entrance (also near Westhill Drive homes).A fire at Belgatos Park in east Los Gatos looks to have been started by 3 kids, who were seen running from the scene at the time the fire erupted.  The blaze came frighteningly close to homes.  Fortunately, the fire department and the California Department of Forestry responded fast and it appears to have been contained within an hour.

Please see the full write up on the Belwood of Los Gatos blog:


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Should dogs be allowed off leash in Los Gatos parks?

Handy family dog, Bella (when she was a little younger)The town of Los Gatos is considering a pilot program which would allow dogs to be off leash at certain parks during particular periods.  The blurb on the town's website states:

"A series of community meetings will be held to discuss a pilot program to allow dogs off leash at Live Oak Manor, Bachman, and La Rinconada parks. The meetings will be held at Louise Van Meter Elementary School (16445 Los Gatos Boulevard) at 6:00 p.m., on April 25, May 9, and May 23. Please contact the Parks and Public Works Department at (408) 399-5770 for more information."

What do you think of this idea? 

I'm a passionate dog owner and lover, but I think that letting dogs off leash - except in a dog park - is a terrible idea.  Here's why:

  • Many people are afraid of dogs, and it would be terrifying for them to have dogs not under the control of an owner with a leash - these people would feel uncomfortable and unsafe in the parks with the "off leash" policy
  • Some dogs are afraid of or very cautious about other dogs too.  Our beloved pet, Bella, is curious initially but after a quick hello with other dogs prefers to be left alone.  (Most of the time, she's rather play with humans than dogs. She's a rescue dog, so we don't know the story there.)  When we last took her to the dog park which Los Gatos shares with Campbell, poor Bella got some "unwanted attention" from a male dog who was apparently smitten.  This would not have happened had the male been on a leash.
  • While most dogs are even tempered, some are not - and may not show that aggressive side until it's too late. Why take a chance?
  • Even the best behaved dogs will pee and poop where they will if not on leash, and a dog that has run 100' or more away may leave a mess that its owner cannot later find and tidy up. (If they try - too many are irresponsible.)

What would be better than having pooches run off leash at certain hours would be having a fenced in, off leash area within these parks. Dogs could be welcome to romp off leash there. Many parks and even apartment complexes in Silicon Valley have such spaces, although admittedly they are often small.  I saw one just last week at San Jose's Golden Oak Park in Almaden (next to Fontana and Guadalupe Oaks Park).  Better still, add more dog parks to the town's mix of open spaces for residents. 

Readers who would like to comment,  please read the comment policy.  Comments are moderated, are not posted immediately and not all comments will be posted or left up if they do not adhere to the comment policy for this site. Please do not write excessively long comments.  Keep it brief.  Long comments are either never published at all or will be put up for a short period of time only in most cases.

Bella Handy, Christmas 2011

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Blossom Hill Park Trail Access Issues

Maintenance Vehicles Only sign on Hillbrook access to park trailBlossom Hill Park in Los Gatos is the site of many kids' games and events.  A concession stand there is a great place to provide refreshments but it's not too close to the parking lot or easy automobile access.  It is a bit of a challenge for those wanting to stock the little building with heavy items such as ice, food and beverages because it's something of a haul on foot.

Some folks have been using the maintenance access path to bring food and drink items to this stand, to the consternation of neighbors and with some resulting conflicts that don't need to be detailed here. What the neighbors on Hillbrook, where the park path opening is, don't know is that the people using this access had permission from the town of Los Gatos (and a key to unlock the gate).

Blossom Hill Park trail for pedestrians - and some others, with permission, in motorized vehiclesSometimes what may appear obvious (such as the sign indicating that only maintenance vehicles are allowed on the small paved trail or road), isn't reflective of the situation at all.

Perhaps the sign should be clearer and indicate that access on motorized vehicles is by permission only.

And perhaps the town ought to notify those adjacent to this path that they should expect some limited motor traffic from time to time. 

In all cases, residents shouldn't take the law into their own hands.  If they are upset with the trail being used, they should simply call the town or the police.  It would be good for them to remember, too, that this is a park - and access to it belongs to everyone.

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Los Gatos Creekside Sports Park Kickoff

Under a perfectly blue sky, today the new Los Gatos Creekside Sports Park enjoyed its kickoff in the company of residents, children, town employees, volunteers and government officials. As the mayor explained, it wasn't a ground-breaking as we weren't going to break ground per se, but it is a kickoff (and the kids helped with that).

The mayor, Joe Pirzynski, got the event going just a little after 3:30. (Also present, to the left, were council members Steve Rice, Diane McNutt, Barbara Spector and former councilmember turned County Supervisor Mike Wasserman - Steve Leonardis was not available.)

Mayor Joe Pirzynski addresses the community present at the kickoff of the new Los Gatos Creekside Sports Park.

Todd Capurso, the Los Gatos Director of Parks and Public Works, was next at bat (so to speak). In addition to his own remarks, he was also covering for town manager Greg Larson, who's out ill right now. (Get well soon, Greg!)

Todd Capurso, Los Gatos Director of Parks and Public Works, was profuse in his thanks

Todd Capurso thanked nearly everyone present for being involved in one capacity or another over the last several years to get us to today.  It was a bit of a litany with a lot of names included but it was very gracious to mention so many.

The biggest surprise of the day came from Ed Sanjuan and the Los Gatos United Soccer League, which had saved over the years and presented the town with a $100,000 check toward the sports park effort. Many, many thanks!!!

A big check from the Los Gatos United Soccer League was presented by Ed Sanjuan for the town to use in conjunction with the sports park.

The mayor was a little suprised and deeply appreciative for the town upon the presentation of this amazingly generous donation. 

Mayor Joe Pirzynsk with Ed Sanjuan of Los Gatos United Soccer League

Meanwhile, the group of kids who were slated to do some kicking were ready to go - enough speeches already!

Ready to kick!!

But wait, there's more!  All of these talks and events were happening in the shadow of two very large tractors which were parked near one of the old GTE buildings.  Clearly, it had to go before there'd be soccer or anything else happening here.  But to the delight of the crowd, the motors turned on and both tractors got into action and began demolishing the large structure.  (And it wasn't just the children who enjoyed seeing this either!)  It was big, it was noisy, it was fun.

Tractors begin to demolish the old GTE building in Los Gatos to make way for the new sports park.

With typical Los Gatan hospitality, there were refreshments to be enjoyed afterward.  The crowd did mingle and linger.  It was a success.  We hope to see the finished product within the year.

Past and related articles on sports parks in Los Gatos:

Los Gatos Planning Commission Public Hearing on Creekside Sports Park at 930 University Avenue (2011)

 Permit for Los Gatos Skatepark Revoked: Now What?  (Mar 19, 2008)

Los Gatos Skatepark Gaining Support (June 17, 2007)

Articles related to parks and trails in Los Gatos

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Fire at the Heintz Open Space Preserve in Los Gatos

Date: Sep. 8, 2011
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Planes and helicopters have been flying overhead this morning in east Los Gatos (Belwood of Los Gatos, Strathmore, Heritage Grove, Surmont, Belgatos and more neighborhoods).  A phone call to the non-emergency line of the Los Gatos police department revealed that there's a fire at the Heintz Open Space Preserve.

We get a lot of practice fire drills by helicopters over Belgatos Park, the Santa Rosa Open Space Preserve and Blossom Hill (the knoll, not the road) and it often goes for hours - and can be annoying if you're trying to concentrate with the racket.  Today, though, there was smoke, and we are glad that they've been practicing.

It's now almost noon and there have been 5 quiet minutes.  I hope that means the fire's out.

Added later:

The fire was VERY small, about the size of most 2 car garages, apparently.  Here are some photos that my husband, Jim Handy, took after hiking up there yesterday.

Panorama of the Heintz Open Space Preserve Fire (Sept 2011)

The Heintz Open Space Preserve Fire  in Los Gatos Sept 9, 2011 - very small after all!

Another image of the fire area afterwards - photo by Jim Handy

Fire after - effects: orange goo is what was dropped by the helicopter and planes in east Los Gatos on 9-9-11 at the fire near Belgatos Park (at the Heintz Open Space Preserve). Photo by Jim Handy

Hillside areas are among some of the most valuable Los Gatos real estate. Home buyers need to be aware that living in or near our beautiful hills has some risks.

Please also read:

What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley
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Arbor Day 2011: New Trees at Blossom Hill Park in Los Gatos

Please enjoy the 30-second slideshow of Arbor Day in Los Gatos 2011. There are additional photos and the end of the show too.

With thanks to my husband, Jim Handy, for sharing these images of Arbor Day 2011 in Los Gatos with my readers!

To see

more slide shows of Los Gatos and neighboring communities

, please click on the link.

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Arbor Day 2011 Los Gatos: Trees Going to Blossom Hill Park

Date: Apr. 28, 2011
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Arbor Day is always a big deal in Los Gatos, a town with a lot of trees to start with!  Tomorrow, April 29th, the town will have trees planted at Blossom Hill Park. The Los Gatos town website states: "Join us at Blossom Hill Park on Friday, April 29 at 10 am for a tree planting ceremony and Tree City Arbor Day Celebration."

For additional information, please see the article on the Patch website for Campbell, CA.

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Merry Go Round Gone at Belgatos Park but Climbing Features Added

The merry-go-round at Belgatos Park's playground was recently removed (due to kids' injuries) but a couple of climbing structures have been added in its place.  Here's a look when it first went in a couple of days ago (swings are still there, in far back):

New climbing structures at Belgatos Park in Los Gatos

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Mountain Lion Killed in Belgatos Neighborhood of Los Gatos

Date: Oct. 26, 2010
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A rumor has been circulating in the Belwood - Belgatos - Surmont area about a mountain lion death earlier this week in or near Belgatos Park.  It's been confirmed that a mountain lion was killed on Monday evening by a Belgatos resident.  The mountain lion had killed multiple animals or livestock on the resident's property so the owner sought and received a permit to kill it from the state fish & game department.  This apparently happened on private property, most likely close to the park.

Related stories and updates:

Coyotes Roaming, Killing Pets in The Almond Grove and Glenridge Neighborhoods of Los Gatos (2008 post on Live in Los Gatos)

Mountain Lion Shot in Los Gatos (January 2008 story by Alastair Dallas in the Los Gatos Observer about a cougar shot in a backyard along Lora Drive)

Mountain lion killed on Hwy 17 near Cats Restaurant in Los Gatos (Jan 12, 2010, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In late March, 2011, another mountain lion was killed in Redwood City. In the SF Gate article, it was relayed that:

"One of the big cats was treed in Palo Alto in 2004, a cougar showed up in a condominium complex in Pleasanton in 2006, and in September one was found roaming near Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto." (All killed, as well)


Please continue reading on the new home of Live in Los Gatos

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Los Gatos Celebrates Arbor Day 2010 Beginning at Belgatos Park

Date: Apr. 21, 2010
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Los Gatos celebrates Arbor Day and its 30th year as a "Tree City USA" on April 30th beginning at 10am at Belgatos Park (330 Belgatos Lane, and the end of Belgatos Road in Los Gatos).Please continue reading on the new home of Live in Los Gatos

View Belgatos Park in a larger map


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Live in Los Gatos

A blog about Los Gatos real estate, homes, houses, condos, townhomes, housing market, neightborhoods, history, events, businesses, parks, schools, photos, issues, and lifestyle by Mary Pope-Handy, town resident, enthusiast and Realtor.

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Mary Pope-Handy

Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road
Los Gatos, CA 95030
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