Last week and over the weekend, two groups tackled most of the remaining trash at the main illegal target shooting site along Cherry Creek in the Los Padres National Forest. This area was closed to target shooting in 2011, but occasional illegal shooting has resulted in trash being left behind over the years.
On Wednesday, a team of 14 Patagonia employees from coast to coast who were meeting in Ventura for the week took some time to help remove microtrash from the site. The team was made up of residents from all over the country, including Massachusetts, Georgia, Colorado, and other states, including several who were local residents. They were eager to get out into the national forest just outside of Ventura where Patagonia is headquartered.
Most of the volunteers worked on the old shooting site along Cherry Creek, but a small group went to retrieve some irrigation tubing left along a nearby trail. The tubing, which the Forest Service informed ForestWatch about a few days before the cleanup, was likely scrap from a grow site far-removed from the trail. We are currently working with the Forest Service to ensure that the actual grow site is removed and remediated.
Cherry Creek received help from another group of Forest Stewards a few days later. We originally planned to clean up a different shooting site in the Upper Sespe Creek watershed, but the presence of several people illegally target shooting at the site when we arrived posed a safety concern. We decided to focus our efforts at nearby Cherry Creek once again and return to the other site on a later date.
This group of ForestWatch volunteers — who were mostly Ojai and Ventura locals — spent 3 hours removing much of the shell casings, old tin cans, and other shot-up pieces of trash that remained at the site. We moved a pop-up canopy from trash pile to trash pile to stay shaded while we worked. Despite our initial location change, the morning was very successful!
In total, these two groups removed an estimated 750 pounds of trash from the Cherry Creek watershed! Thanks to them, endangered California condors that live in the area will be safer and the Sespe Creek watershed will be cleaner.
Check out more pictures from our recent cleanups at Cherry Creek: