New wilderness area to get trash cleanup
Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) will remove approximately 6,000
pounds of litter, discarded machinery, and household appliances
from the newly-designated Willow Creek addition to the Silver Peak
Wilderness in southern Monterey County. The trash and machinery
were left by operators of several illegal mining claims when they
were evicted by the Forest Service from their stream-side cabins
in the 1970s. The Forest Service burned the illegal cabins but did
not remove the debris.
The junk was rediscovered by VWA members when they surveyed the
area in 1999 for possible inclusion in a proposed wilderness bill.
That bill, The Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act, became law
in 2002 and designated over 55,000 acres of new wilderness, including
8,820 acres of the Willow Creek drainage.
VWA is now ready to start the cleanup following a two-year process
to secure approval from the Forest Service in conformance with the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This NEPA approval process,
funded by a generous grant from the Employees Conservation Action
Fund of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research
Institute, consisted of archeological, biological, and hazardous
material studies of the area. No impediments to the cleanup project
The cleanup project will remove an illegal structure, suspension
bridge, lapidary machinery, car batteries, motors, fuel drums, household
appliances, and more. All of the material will be brought out of
the wilderness by volunteers on an estimated 183 backpack loads.
A gondola car on a Tyrolean traverse will be used to transport the
material across Willow Creek to minimize stream bank disturbances.
A volunteer certified welder is needed to reduce machinery and appliances
to backpack size. Volunteer trash packers are also needed. The backpack
out to the trailhead is less than a mile.
The field work will begin in April and continue throughout the summer.
Contact the VWA through their website to volunteer, www.ventanawild.org/projects/willow/
or contact Tom Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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