(The answer is in the article so please read on.) If trash could toll, it would ring for all of us because litter literally takes a “toll” on the environment. So when you’re out in nature, do your part and more. Make sure you pick up after yourself and if possible, even after others: nature will appreciate it. On this lovely June morning Hadley and I make our way down the trail to meet up with California State Park’s archeologist, Barbara Tejada. As we travel, we pick up trash along the way. (We function as the self-imposed community service part of this article.) I work with a grabber, gloves, and a trash bag slung over Hadley’s saddle. Tricky stuff – so you have to make sure your horse is up for it and not spooky. The key to picking up after someone else is a pair of gloves. I use latex (make sure you are not allergic), or vinyl; sometimes work gloves and of course, a grabber. Before you start on any trash pick-up expedition make sure you have an end plan. Where will you throw out the trash you pick up? Identify ahead of time, where the nearest trash receptacle is and plan to use it. Sometimes the trash left by other people is really disgusting and may be too difficult to pick up or even recycled (hence, the gloves and the grabber!) Luckily, on this particular day we don’t find much garbage. So when we meet Ms. Tejada (Barbara), at King Gillette Ranch (KGR), we just have a few plastic bottles to throw away. KGR is named after the property’s original owner, the razor mogul, King Gillette. Nowadays, designated a public park, KGR is operated and owned by three different agencies – MRCA, NPS and CSP. After putting on riding gear, Barbara demonstrates using the park’s recycling container. The plastic bottles go in the recycling portion of the canister, and the plastic bag in the designated trash side. For Barbara, this task really isn’t self-imposed community service. Barbara is one of the lucky few, who actually have a job in her field of study; she works for California State Parks. Her primary assignment is Malibu Creek State Park and there isn’t a question she can’t answer about the park or nature for that matter. Barbara is acutely aware of how eco systems and habitat are affected by human interaction. She works for a great organization and loves her job. Barbara graduated from UCSB, top of her class, and has not only the intellectual chops for her position, but also the people skills. Barbara is truly an asset to the community. After we discard the bottles, we head up to Inspiration Point (owned and managed by CSP).
What do you get when you mix a CSP Archeologist, a little Appaloosa and a Public Park?
As we near the trailhead entrance, we will trek about 2 miles and meet up on the flat top called Inspiration Point. The view is magnificent, a panoramic view of the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains of California.
After we descend, we have a brief break with two MRCA staff members Julio Martinez and Greg Houck. Julio and Greg are part of the crew that cares for KGR under Park Manager Scott Hughes, who is an equestrian himself. Hadley patiently munches on carrots while the others share their snacks.
If you are looking for a great hike and family excursion, consider visiting these two parks: KGR (King Gillette Ranch) and Malibu Creek State Park.
- How to prevent trash from spreading into the environment –
- Never over-stuff your trashcan! Home dwellers or the people who work for them often make this mistake. They have too much to throw away and they over-stuff the trashcan, making it impossible to close the lid. Scavengers such as ravens, raccoons, coyotes and even neighborhood dogs will seize the opportunity for an easy meal.
The temptation is too great and as a result, the trashcan is tipped over spreading garbage everywhere. And if wind kicks in, the situation goes from bad to worse. Sometimes even when the lid is secure, animals from the above-learned experience, will tip the waste can over. If you are having this problem, it’s best to walk your trash to the curb on the morning of the trash up. More than likely, animals won’t interfere with your rubbish in the evening hours when it is closer to your home
- Don’t assume that you garbage is secure if left out in plastic bags. First of all, the garbage collector may not accept it like that. Secondly, leaving it out like that makes it vulnerable to wild animals. If you are having a big event, rent a trash bin. If you didn’t plan ahead and have a lot of garbage to toss, see if a neighbor has space in their trash container.
- Ask for help – I once attempted to pick up hazardous waste dumped illegally in the wilderness and it was bad stuff too, lots of chemicals. I didn’t know the proper way to dispose of it. I emailed the County Supervisor’s office and got the help needed; it was a job for the professionals. The crew acted swiftly and did a great job!
- Insist on others do the right thing – Planning a remodel? Make sure your contractor and the crew doing the job understand “no dumping”. Offer to pay a little extra to insure that all the debris is taken to the dump and if possible, recycled.
- Insist on proper disposal – i.e. after a tree trimming insist the branches are hauled to the dump to be wood chipped into mulch versus thrown away in a wooded area. Branches, left in the wilderness, take a long time to degrade. Instead, the branches dry out and become fuel for a fire, endangering neighboring homes and putting fire fighters more at risk.
Next month – Self-Imposed Community Service – tagging and the environment.