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Oct 05

National Public Lands Day 2017 at Salmon Creek

Last weekend on September 30th, volunteers across the country headed outside to pull invasive plants, bag up trash, work on trails, and educate visitors about the value of their local public lands. National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands, and we joined in by working with our friends at the US Forest Service and Los Padres Forest Association (LPFA) to put on a day of stewardship and education based out of the Salmon Creek Guard Station in the Silver Peak Wilderness. Our goals for the weekend were to conduct trail maintenance, clean up trash around the Salmon Creek Falls area, educate visitors on Leave No Trace principles, and prepare for the arrival of the American Conservation Experience (ACE) crew, who will be working on the Buckeye Trail for the next six weeks.

VWA staff & volunteers traveled from Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties to meet for NPLD. Photo: Steve Benoit

VWA staff & volunteers traveled from Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties to meet at Salmon Creek for NPLD. Photo: Steve & Beth Benoit

We were lucky to have the Monterey Ranger District's Recreation Officer, Diane Cross, and Assistant Recreation Officer, Tom Murphey, join us for NPLD.

We were lucky enough to have the Monterey Ranger District's Recreation Officer, Diane Cross, and Assistant Recreation Officer, Tom Murphey, join us for NPLD. Tom and Diane weren't afraid to get their hands dirty alongside the volunteers, and helped us remove trash, scrub graffiti off rocks, and clean up the guard station.

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Eleven volunteers joined Stewardship Coordinator Trevor Willits and VWA/USFS Liason Mike Heard for trail work on the Cruickshank Trail. The crew brushed 750 yards of the trail to make it passable for stock support to reach backcountry trail crews this season. LPFA's Bryan Conant, along with several other LPFA members, assisted us with the trail work.

stationbethThe guard station will be the base of operations for ACE and other trail crews this field season. However, the guard station has not been regularly used since last year and it required some heavy-duty cleaning to make it safe and comfortable for our trail crews. Photos: Tom Murphey

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Pepper supervised the cleaning at the guard station and greeted visitors at the trailhead. Photo: Tom Murphey

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We set up a VWA interpretive table at the heavily used Salmon Creek Trailhead. Our Volunteer Wilderness Rangers and staff spoke with over 150 visitors about how to minimize their impacts on public lands. We also talked with visitors abut fire restrictions and issued permits for use of camp stoves in the backcountry. Visitors got to take home stickers, maps, and Leave No Trace information cards. Meanwhile, the rangers and volunteers carried out over 100 pounds of trash from the vicinity of Salmon Creek Falls! Photos: Beth Benoit/Mike Splain

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Ranger Steve Benoit, Tom and volunteers Sean and Lise removed two sizable metal pipes from the Salmon Creek watershed. Photos: Tom Murphey

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We also removed microtrash and disassembled an unauthorized fire ring in the cave next to the falls.

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Volunteers were rewarded for their hard work by fantastic weather and breathtaking views of the Silver Peak Wilderness!

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We enjoyed a fun and productive weekend of stewardship and made valuable public contacts at the trailhead. The ACE crew arrived at the guard station this week, and their stay will be made much easier by the preliminary trail work and cleanup efforts from our NPLD volunteers. Photos: Tom Murphey

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