Fremont's iconic Mission Peak pole vandalized, missing top half found

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Fremont's iconic Mission Peak pole vandalized, missing top half found
The pole at the top of Mission Peak, first installed in 1990, has been decapitated in what hikers are saying is a premeditated act of vandalism. But the top half has been found by park staff.

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- A popular landmark on top of Mission Peak has been vandalized, according to park officials.

Hikers tell ABC7 News the Mission Peak pole, known to some as the "Peeker Pole," famous for hikers to take photos with when reaching the top, has been cut in half. However, the part that was cut off has been found by park staff.

"I just can't imagine what would be going through someone's mind that would compel them to do that because it's not just a landmark, people interact with it," Joyce Lee, a Fremont resident said.

Lee says the one-of-a-kind pole, first installed in 1990, has four faces, showing you the directions of North and South and is covered in 'peeker' holes so you can see other iconic peaks around the Bay Area.

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Underneath the pole is a time capsule with a bottle of local wine, an Ohlone charm stone replica, and photos and articles from the late 1980s and 1990s according to East Bay Regional Park District officials.

Lee believes it was cut off sometime between sundown on Friday and sunrise on Saturday.

"This was premeditated, you need a specific tool to cut something like that down, you need to spend time to bring yourself up 2,100 feet over three miles, it's not a low-effort crime," Lee said.

A symbol she's visited for decades and not only serves as the marking place for reaching the summit that everyone gets a photo with, but it's been there for every holiday, birthday and even tea party.

"Even though it's a thing, it's along with us through life's journeys," she said.

Claudia Bejarano out of Tracy says she had just hiked the same trail last weekend, even snapping a few photos.

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But this time she was disappointed by the time she reached the top on Labor Day to find the decapitated pole.

"It's really upsetting because that's the peak, that's where you know that you finally made it up, it's on top of where all the rocks are, all the people kind of gather up just for that picture but not anymore," Bejarano said.

Other hikers said this incident of vandalism didn't keep crowds away from seeing the damage for themselves.

"Quite the shame!" Brad Garofalo, a San Jose resident said. "If the intent was to stop people from coming, clearly it failed because today's packed."

The East Bay Regional Park District issued a statement saying:

"We are saddened to learn about this incident in our park. Any vandalism from destruction to graffiti affects what should be a positive, happy experience for community members to enjoy open space and the many trails in our regional parks. Anyone with information about this incident can contact EBRPD's Public Safety Department at 510-690-6521."

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