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Oct 14

A Great Partnership: VWA, VO-Cal and CA State Parks

Nobody enjoys seeing signs like this.

The Ventana Wilderness Alliance partnered with Volunteers for Outdoor California (VO-Cal) and California State Parks to complete trailwork in and around Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on October 1 and 2.  This was VWA’s first project with VO-Cal.   The VO-Cal approach is to provide a volunteer workforce for large-scale trail maintenance and construction projects, habitat restoration, and related land stewardship activities on public lands in partnership with public agencies and other nonprofit organizations.  Redwood City-based VO-Cal was excited to do a project in Big Sur, and VWA and State Parks were happy to provide local people and planning expertise. http://www.v-o-cal.org/

Volunteers loosening up on the Park's softball field.

A diverse mix of over 100 volunteers descended on a camping area specifically reserved for them in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on Friday, September 30.  The next day, the volunteers were led through some warm-up activities before breaking into three project groups that were then sub-divided into smaller teams.  Each team was led by a certified crew leader who provided tool usage and safety training.

The good folks with Californai State Parks were amazing!

The Three Projects 1)     Oak Grove Trail - Volunteers cleared massive amounts of deer weed, a "fire follower", which has tried to claim this trail.  Workers also cleared an extensive slide area, removing the soil with buckets and wheelbarrows to avoid impact on the seasonal creek below. The volunteers restored the trail tread to its original location.

Volunteers repairing the Oak Grove Trail.

2)     Mt. Manuel Trail – Another hardy crew headed up to the adjoining Forest Service land to clear downed timber on the Mt Manuel trail.  Included in this crew were certified sawyers armed with crosscut saws.  Over 12 trees were removed from the trail.  The volunteers also completed extensive tread repair.

These folks took on the tough task of working the Mt. Manuel Trail.

3)     Post Creek Trail – This group of intrepid volunteers worked on the new Post Creek Trail with approximately 1100 feet of new trail on a steep hillside.  They also finished work on a previously constructed section of trail.

Most of the necessary work on the Mt. Manuel Trail was near the summit.

The volunteers enjoyed free camping along the Big Sur River.  Also, VO-Cal provided all meals on Saturday and Sunday.  It was a very comfortable set-up and this approach maximized the productivity of the volunteers.

A VO-Cal veteran clears brush on the Oak Grove Trail.

Each of the three projects was deemed a resounding success.  All three partners agreed that they would love to make this a recurring activity.  Special thanks are in order for Cathy Moyer and her team at VO-Cal, Paul McFarland and the VWA volunteers who participated and John Hites and his outstanding crew at California State Parks.

The participation of State Parks staff was integral to the success of this project.

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