Saving Santa Paula Canyon with Boots on the Ground

IMG_8346On Monday, January 18th, six humans and one dog set out into Santa Paula Canyon to remove trash from the spectacular area.

Santa Paula Canyon is home to a perennial stream which gives life to waterfalls and swimming holes as well as a rich natural habitat for species like steelhead and California condors. It is also one of the most disrespected trails in the Los Padres. The allure of the swimming holes just a few miles back into the canyon – most notably the Punchbowl – draws thousands of hikers each year, some of which leave trash or mar the rocks with graffiti.

IMG_5303Just past the oil fields drilling just up next to the creek, and not even 100 yards down the trail, our team found a trashed party site complete with smashed glass bottles, a picnic table, ping pong balls, and even two 25lb barbells. After gathering everything up and hauling it out, we headed up the canyon.

Heading about two miles up the canyon before time constraints forced us to turn back, we were able to fill another trash bag with water bottles and food packaging found on the side of the trail.

In total, we removed over 123 pounds of trash from Santa Paula Canyon – trash that will not end up in the creek, down the river, or in the belly of a condor chick. There’s still plenty of work to be done within Santa Paula Canyon – more trash to be picked up, graffiti to be removed, and of course there’s the oil wells. To get the full story on our work in Santa Paula Canyon, be sure to head over to

Huge thank you to the Patagonia volunteers who came out and volunteered their time.

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