On Saturday, December 2, a group of 27 volunteers hiked roughly 8 miles to remove over 125 pounds of trash from Santa Paula Canyon in the Los Padres National Forest. The area is home to the most popular trail in the southern Los Padres due to its scenic canyon views and the famous swimming hole known as the Punch Bowl.
The crew split up into two teams: one that went all the way to Cross Camp near the Punch Bowl to remove trash from the popular campground and one that would focus on the trail in the lower portions of the canyon. Both teams hiked several miles for hours before rendezvousing at Big Cone Camp. There the volunteers discovered rolls of carpet that someone had lugged into the canyon reasons unknown. After taking a break and enjoying the incredible views from beneath the bigcone Douglas-firs (the camp’s namesake), the group collected the bags of trash and headed back down the trail and out of the canyon.
Many of our amazing volunteers were from the local geocaching community, coming from as far as Downey to help clean up this beautiful area while finding the several geocaches (small containers hidden at specific points across the world that geocachers attempt to locate) the canyon has to offer.
This cleanup hike was also part of our ongoing collaboration with Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. to clean up areas around the national forest with the help of members from their local Mug Clubs. Their taproom in Westlake Village promoted the cleanup and we were glad to have their Mug Club represented at the cleanup. They even gave each volunteer a voucher for a free beer at one of their taprooms (if they were old enough, of course)! And thanks goes out to Fig Mtn Brew for also giving us impenetrable malt bags to use at this and other cleanups. These bags have proven to be perfect for cleanup hikes through the shrubs that often tore open lesser trash bags.
ForestWatch has been regularly cleaning up Santa Paula Canyon since 2015. This year alone we have taken groups of volunteers into the canyon three times to remove a total of nearly 400 pounds of trash.
We will continue to take volunteers into the canyon to remove trash and graffiti next year as well as promote leave no trace ethics. See below for more photos from the cleanup hike.
Photos by Bryant Baker