2023 Trail Crew Year in Review

Crew Posing on trail.

Our trail crew logged more than 6,600 hours clearing brush, filling in ruts, repairing slides, creating & fixing drains in 2023. Heavy rains kept us busy fixing water damaged trails. Beginning in April, we spent the rest of the year primarily cutting back all the brush that the rains encouraged to grow.

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Juan, amongst the ceanothus

Jerry, soon to cross the 6,000 volunteer hour threshold, is our not so secret weapon. He organizes and manages our special projects: Eagle Scout projects, company volunteer days, Trail Corps, Trail Days and so much more. We are grateful that Jerry has been working with us since 2003. He has mentored and trained crew leaders and casual volunteers. For the past decade, Dave and Jerry have been the glue that makes our trail crew what it is.

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Jerry Mitcham - Crew Master - Backbone Trail - Now that is a rut!

Dave is our other secret weapon. His truck probably has tens of thousands of miles from being driven to and from the trailhead and back. Dave brings the tools, maintains the tools and returns them to their home after each event. Many of the tools we use were first tested by Dave, If he liked them, he would buy them. Dave and Jerry make it possible for our trail crew to get so much work done.

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Dave Edwards - Crew Master
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Denise, Ruth, Carlyn & Kirsten
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Jon Sheldon Photo by Juan Carlo Mendoza

Greg is usually the first to arrive at events. Follow him up the trail and you may find yourself emulating him by kicking small rocks off the trail to make the trail better for the next person. Trail segments that Greg clears are among the most perfectly done segments.

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Greg Sweel

We rebuilt sections of the Musch Trail damaged by another deluge of rain last winter.

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Trail work is a collaborative effort.

Ten events were held during February-March repairing Dead Horse and Musch Trails. Our crew worked with State Parks to make these trails safe and enjoyable again.

When needed, wood and or stone steps were installed, gabions built to shore up trail edges and lots of dirt & were used to fill gaps and ruts.

Denise became a videographer of the many events. Her enthusiasm helped keep us moving forward when it seemed like we would never get done.

Carlyn "wowed" us when she picked up a sledgehammer and drove 36" rebar into the ground.

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Norm and Sharon

Norm and Sharon Simmonds have been fixtures on our trail crew longer than anyone else. More than 9,000 volunteer hours have been attributed to this couple. Here they are working on the Willow Trail. This trail was so obscured by mustard we had trouble imagining a trail ever went through. Gas and electric powered brush cutters were utilized to restore the path towards Nicholas Flat.

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Ruth cutting back the sumac - Nicholas Flats Trail

John Kross has consistently volunteered more than 250+ hours per year over the last decade - this year was no different. John was the crew leader for most of the Serrano Valley outings in 2023. John did it all this year (like every other year) from removing downed trees blocking the trail to running the brush cutter for hours on end.

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John, Peter, John, Trail Corp Crew

Juan Carlo Mendoza is a man of many talents and appears to have the drive and energy of a dozen volunteers. He has challenged us to do better and more. When others grow tired after putting in six hours, he often will continue far past that. Large ruts were filled, drains, steps and tread were improved and Juan was there for just about all of it.

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Manic Juan Carlo Mendoza

A record setting number of hours was worked by Dave Edwards (452) Jon Sheldon (416) and Ruth Feldon (402). You just know it is going to be a good work day when you see Dave's truck at the trailhead. He brings the tools, the expertise as well as chocolate and ice cold refreshments for the post work debrief. Ruth and her husband Jon volunteered a combined 818 hours! That works out to about 12% of our organizations efforts for 2023. Jon has done an extraordinary job on the Point Mugu State Park trail sign project and Ruth was our volunteer of the year.

We continue to reach out to a variety of groups that love and utilize our trails. This effort in Blue Canyon had one of the largest groups of volunteers to date. Are you an active trail user who belongs to a group that might be interested in working with us? Email or call us. We can all benefit from this shared labor!

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Trail Runners, Backbone Trail in Blue Canyon

During the year we provide Crew Leaders for events held by NPS, State Parks and COSCA. Don is one of our crew leaders who will work with you to make the best use of your skills and time.

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Don Brusselars

Dave Edwards leads groups of volunteer trail workers to the Channel Islands throughout the year. His crew does some fine work in making trails available to the public.

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Our Volunteers on the Channel Islands

Trail work is a collaborative effort. Team work is required when clearing downed trees. A delightful memory was created when our crew at the urging of Greg, broke out the saws and cut apart two fallen trees blocking a trail. We took turns and worked to together to drag the trunks off of the trail. It turns out that working collaboratively you can make some great friends and have a good time while doing something to benefit others trail users.

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Our Lumberjack Crew

Highlights - Previous Years: