Feb. 2 marked the first gathering of the Canyon Guardians, a league of energetic volunteers committed to the stewardship of our local wilderness.
High-school and middle-school students, outdoor enthusiasts, and naturalists joined forces to remove as much trail trash and graffiti as possible within a three-hour period. Armed with reusable grocery bags, gardening gloves, trash tongs and poker sticks, they scoured the parking lot and trail for any form of pollution that would degrade the aesthetic or habitat value of the sensitive area.
Found items included (in order from exciting to gross):
1) Canadian dollars
2) Tigger head pillow
3) Container of glow sticks
6) 5-Hour Energy plastic container
7) 7-Eleven beverage cup with environmental message
8) Car hubcap
9) Vodka, malt liquor, beer and other glass bottles
10) Countless beer cans
11) Countless plastic beverage containers
12) Dog poop in plastic bags
13) Used tampon hidden in sagebrush
Along the way, many passing trail users noticed our effort and thanked us.
The popular hiking destinations receive daily dumping and vandalism from inconsiderate trail users. Why would anyone want to trash a beautiful place? Look no further than Frank R. Bowerman Landfill, one of the largest landfills in California. Tucked into the foothills of OC, the landfill used to be called Bee Canyon, but now it is full of our waste–31 million tons, to be exact. As long as we continue to produce crap, we gotta find a place to put it. I guess certain trail users are just carrying on a canyon-dumping tradition. Heaven forbid we take responsibility for our waste and stop producing disposable one-use items out of non-renewable resources.
Canyon Guardians will meet at least once a month at different trailheads throughout OC and beyond. The next Canyon Guardian gathering is March 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ortega Falls. Full details and other upcoming Canyon Guardian activities will be listed on the Naturalist for You calendar page.
Canyon Guardians, unite!!! (Cue He-Man theme music.)