30th Annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days
Story by Liz Baumann and Barb Thomas
Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days 2011 kicked off on April 29 and ran through May 1, 2011.The event was held at Danielson Ranch in Point Mugu State Park. Around 125 volunteers maintained trails, with most enjoying the Saturday barbecue and many also camped in the park.
Many, many thanks to SMMTC's Barb Thomas who was the main coordinator for the event. Also a big thanks to the many other volunteer coordinators and California State Park personnel including Trail Coordinator Dale Skinner and Ranger Tony Hoffman who helped make it happen. (See below for a special thank you from Barb.) The National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains Task Force of Sierra Club, California Native Plant Society, CORBA, Santa Monica Mountains Natural History Association, Malibu Creek Docents, Temescal Canyon Association, and Conejo Sierra Club also participated in the event, in addition to numerous individuals and some scout groups who make a tradition out of coming to this annual trailwork event.
Most trailwork volunteers worked on Saturday, maintaining Upper Sycamore, Blue Canyon, Coyote, Guadalasca, and Chamberlain Trail. On Sunday about 20 crew worked further east up Blue Canyon Trail onto Backbone / Old Boney Trail heading toward Chamberlain Trail.
On Saturday afternoon volunteers were treated to a barbecue dinner followed by cake zealously decorated by the youngsters in attendance (we always celebrate John Muir's birthday). Prizes were raffled off as well, funded by recycling collection over the past year by SMMTC members. Other entertainment included King Richard (Tony's King snake) and Lancelot (SMMTC boardmember and professional Falconer Cynthia Maxwell's hawk). There was also a campfire program to round out Saturday festivities. If anyone didn't get enough cake they roasted s'mores by the fire. Saturday and Sunday mornings there was a plethora of bagels available in addition to hot drinks.
Barb adds: Many, many thanks to all the crew leaders who took part and got the tough work done. Also, many thanks to folks like Annie who headed up the donation drive, helped stuff the goodie bags, made kid's bags (great idea!), baked the cakes, and kept me on track and Lylene who helped with the raffle gift hunt and held down the fort at registration with Frank Greenway. Thanks to Susie who drove all over creation buying and picking prizes up, to Linda who also picked up prizes and helped stuff the goodie bags, and to Virginia who tirelessly turns glass and plastic into money. Folks came out of the woodwork during the event to help, especially Diana and Mel, Virginia, Dale, Liz and Jerry (who took all the stuff that wouldn't fit into my truck out to the site), and many other hands that made the work easier. Tony was once again a stellar emcee and the nature program for the evening kept the kids enthralled. Oscar put on a great BBQ and the cold chicken on Sunday was loved by all. Other State Park staff kept the site in order and there were no plumbing problems this year. Cynthia and Annie's cakes became very creative pop art by the kids and were enjoyed by all. Lancelot was the king of the afternoon with the kids and adults alike; thanks, Cynthia, for bringing him out for the group. Maureen provided the very nice Sponsor and Contributor posters and at the 11th hour recreated the Appreciation certificates to save the day. At the end of the event and the end of my energy, all Bill's Eco club kids rallied and packed up my truck. I'm sure there's others I've missed, there are so many that make this event happen every year and I appreciate all the support and enthusiasm from everyone. Good events take great people to make them happen and you're all the best!
Additional resources: Steve Clark from CORBA (and Ventura County Trails) described the event well in CORBA's blog. You can see more photos in the links from the CORBA blog and on Flickr. In addition, SMMTC Treasurer Michelle Kemmer posted photos on this meetup group (some of Steve's are there too).