A group of Los Padres ForestWatch volunteers enjoyed a great day of rarefied air and microtrash clean-up at the historic Frazier Mountain lookout site this past Sunday, 8/18/2013. This was the second such project in the past few weeks led by ForestWatch, the earlier being held at Valle Vista campground (see article here).
Microtrash is small bits of litter like bottle caps, shell casings, and pull tabs which California condors ingest, much to their hazard. “Clean-ups of this nature ensure Frazier Mountain remains a safe roosting location for the giant birds during long flights across the landscape,” said Craig R. Carey, Director of Outdoor Programs at ForestWatch.
The volunteers shared the mountaintop with a group of ham radio operators, some OHV enthusiasts, and one particularly disgruntled rattler. “Perfect conditions to get boots on the ground and help the Forest,” Carey observed, noting current Forest Service budgets preclude rangers from fulfilling as many field-going duties as in years past.
In total, 250 lbs. of micro- and macrotrash — much of it nails and broken glass from the dilapidated fire lookout — were hauled out and, where applicable, recycled.
Since 2007, ForestWatch has completed more than two dozen cleanup efforts with the help of hundreds of volunteers, who have contributed more than 2,500 hours to help protect condors. To date, the volunteers have removed more than 8,000 pounds of microtrash and other trash from key sites within the condor’s range. For more information about ForestWatch’s volunteer projects or to get involved, visit LPFW.org/volunteer.