Less trash, more help at latest Alpine Coastal Cleanup
By the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
There’s good news on the trash front in Alpine!
With more volunteers and sponsors than ever, the Annual Coastal Cleanup by the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) picked up less trash on Sept. 15 from the Alpine Creek bed area, said Jon Green, program and outreach director for the land trust.
“It was excellent, one of our best events,” Green said. “Just all around good news. It was our smallest number of pounds that we’ve ever cleaned up. For the first time ever, less than half of it was from the homeless camps.”
The environmental event in the rural foothills community was the farthest inland site of 106 selected by “I Love a Clean San Diego” around San Diego County.
Green said about 40 percent of the 1,800 pounds of trash collected in Alpine was from homeless camps. The rest was litter collected along Alpine Boulevard and illegal dumping from the roadside, he said.
“It’s an overall positive direction,” said Green. “There’s fewer people sleeping in the creek bed area, but there’s more people dumping trash off the road.”
Some trash collected by the 29 volunteers “has clearly been there for decades,” the BCLT official said. Green said two refrigerators, two ovens, an electric crock pot and an electric can opener were among the debris.
“We did find one needle,” he said. “There were about 60 pounds of trash for recycling.”
In addition to the Back Country Land Trust ---- which hosted the community event ---- and “I Love a Clean San Diego, Waste Management, KEEN Footwear, the Alpine Beer Company and the American Conservation Experience (ACE) were sponsors this year.
Green noted that the annual BCLT cleanups are bringing new organizations and businesses to partner with local businesses and groups to help Alpine and the Mountain Empire.
ACE established a base last year in Dulzura. Julia Parish, ACE regional director for its Southern California branch, said they provided 13 volunteers for the Alpine cleanup.
“We are a national nonprofit organization that places recent high school and college graduates into conservation internships for conservation and land management projects,” Parish said.
“We were really excited about the project location because most of our people are more familiar with coastal areas. We were very successful in removing a lot of debris and trash from a very unique stream bed area.”
The ACE interns saw many native plants for the first time and Green was able to teach them about what they were encountering, she said.
Parish said ACE volunteers were also pleased to meet with other people from around the county, such as Lakeside, during the event. Working at a site that funnels water down to San Diego was also interesting.
“I know when we cleaned up trash in Alpine it was exactly what you see what you clean up at the beaches,” said Parish.
(Photos courtesy of Back Country Land Trust)