Friday June 18th thru Monday June 21st: Third Week of Work
On Friday we worked at the Monte Cristo Campground. Dan, John the Ranger, and I moved boulders from the side of the road to the boarders of campsites and adjacent parking spots to keep people’s vehicles from going inside the campsite. Stacy and Jen worked on clearing a ten foot radius from the fire pits inside the campsites. We used John’s truck to carry the boulders from the side of the road to the appropriate spot in the campsites. Patrick and Jen were going to do a site assessment of the Chilao Visitor Center but where sidetracked to work at Monte Cristo since there was a lot of work that needed to be done before opening it to the public. The Rangers wanted to open this campground to the public before July 4th.
On Saturday we worked at the Stonyvale Picnic Area. We worked with a group of Mormon Missionaries and Boy Scouts the dig out the buried picnic sites from mudslides. We also replaced some BBQ stoves in the picnic sites and cleaned and repainted the bathrooms. There was one particular picnic area that was under 5 feet of dirt from which we spent the majority of the day working on clearing that site clearing most of the dirt. I’ve learned something significant from Dan: how to properly use a shovel. What you want to do is keep your back straight and vertical. You hold the shovel at the tip and move your waist in the horizontal direction when moving the dirt to the place where the dirt is to be dumped. You don’t bend over to dig. This is to prevent lower back injury and builds up your core muscles.
On Sunday we worked at Mt Gleason doing Spanish broom removal. We’ve finished the section that we started in early June and continued to work along the roadside. The road is the highest part of several watersheds and we are to work along this road to prevent Spanish broom from infecting and spreading into those watersheds. Once the Spanish broom goes down the watersheds, it will be difficult to extinguish that momentum. Invasive Species spread from roads since its cars that carry the pollen of those invasive species.
Monday is our overflow day. We did hazard reduction in Monte Cristo (clearing around the fire pits), finish dismembering the table in Hidden Springs, and finished digging out that picnic area in Stonyvale. Monte Cristo Campground is finally ready to be open to the public thanks to the SCA teams efforts!
Friday June 25th thru Thursday July 1st: Work Week at the Chilao Visitor Center
Friday we spent the day figuring out what projects needed work and how we are to get it done. We’d figured carpentry and dry wall skills will be needed for this project. We had to do trail maintenance on the half mile trail, repair the drywalls in the Visitor Center, replace the wooden borders of the sidewalk pavement, repair the three panel display, sanded and painted the benches, and realigned the benches in the amphitheater. Dan and Jen worked on the drywall. The rest of us worked on the rest of the projects. We had the Stewardship Academy come on Sunday and had them work on trail maintenance and painting and sanding the benches. Dan and Pat went to work removing Spanish broom at Mt Gleason on Sunday. For the rest of the work week, we spent on figuring out how to rebuild the three panel display and pavement border. We managed to finish the drywall, pavement border, trail maintenance, and sanded and painted the benches by Wednesday. I’ve enjoyed learning how to cut wood with a table saw and I spent a good part of the work week cutting wood. On Thursday, we did a work day with Engine 16 learning the ways of a wildfire firefighter. We saw how they cut down a few burnt trees and was in a practice session using their various nozzles to spray water on the side of an abandoned building. Fun times! Oh, I almost forgot. On Thursday we worked with prisoners from a country jail for a few hours with the firefighters as they cleaned up Hidden Springs Picnic Area. We removed all the burnt tree cuts and branches and moved the logs boarding the parking area to keep people from driving inside the picnic area. Now Hidden Springs Picnic Area is ready to be open to the public! Hooray!
Thursday July 8th thru Saturday July 17th: Work Week at Wildwood Picnic Area
On Thursday, we went to a seminar directed by the Obama administration to get feedback and ideas as to how to better utilize our urban forest and parks from the youth. Its pretty interesting to see all of these youth groups interested in environmental stewardship in Los Angeles. We (everyone in this seminar) presented our recommendations to the Obama administration for their review and possible utilization. These seminars were taking place all over the nation as the Obama administration try to collect as many recommendations and ideas as possible in the area of using the parks and forests in the USA. Our work days have been reduced from 10 hour days to 8 hour days because we were working 50 hour work weeks (cumulative). Now we are working 45 hour work weeks (cumulative) which should make everyone’s life a little easier. I did a little counting on the work schedule over the 6 day break to determine the numbers. SCA policy says that the crews should work between 40-45 hours per week as a target.
On Friday we spent the time learning how to design and construct drainage dips in trails and did a site assessment on the Silver Moccasin Trail near the Little Pines campground (close to the Chilao Station) with Andrew the park ranger. This is for Saturday’s Volunteer Service Day with the Sierra Club. We also did a little cleaning in the barracks afterwards.
On Saturday we worked on treading and constructing drainage dips on the Silver Moccasin Trail with the Sierra Club. This group was really fun and skilled people to work with in this event. The SCA team was in charge of supervising and providing technical assistance to the Sierra Club during this event. They all played it safe and no one experienced heat stress since today was a hot day. When the days get hotter and hotter, then there is more of an attention to heat stress from dehydration. I am learning to pay more attention to this common problem and making sure the volunteers drink enough water. The SCA team hiked along the Silver Moccasin Trail after the work day was over because we had the time to do so and we wanted to hike it a little bit farther down the trail.
On Sunday we worked at Mt Gleason doing Spanish broom removal. We traveled for an hour on the dirt road to get to our site to remove Spanish broom in addition to the hour to get to the gates of Mt Gleason. So we are really going into the backcountry of this chaparral. Today was a hot day and the Stewardship Academy were over to help us in this event. One of the girls from the Stewardship Academy were experiencing heat stress and their leader had to rush the girl out to get her to cool down and rehydrate her.
Monday thru Wednesday was the time that we prepared for an event at the Wildwood Picnic Area. This was a big event where we were to get around 60 people from Home Depot to fix up the Wildwood Picnic Area. We were camped out in the picnic area to not drive so much to get supplies and gear in civilization. The place was hot and humid and this was the time of 100 degree F weather. We camped around a tree that was marked with graffiti. This site is very close to civilization and is a very popular spot since a river runs through it. We met with Pat’s boss named Jill who came from Boise, Idaho to help us with this event. She would be camping with us. For the issue with water, Pat bought two 2 gallon gravity fed water filters using nanofilters to use the river water to feed our thirst. We brought our food for the week in 2 totes and one cooler. We brought nonperishable food only because of the heat. That means no meats and fruits and veggies (unless they are canned or dried). I was in charge of cooking dinner this week. So, the general thing we did for the entire time is drove around getting supplies at Home Depot and the Little T Ranger Station and stayed out of the sun during 12pm till 2-3pm. This week was particularly interesting from the group dynamics under stress. Pat was so concerned about planning for this event and looking good in front of the boss that his stress level was at a particularly high level. And the rest of the group’s stress level was at a high point too from various reasons. One of those reasons is sleeplessness from fearing some killer might get them in their sleep (because we saw random people walking about in the late evening) or simply that it was too hot to sleep. The rest of the group was planning on what to say to Jill to express their grievances about Pat and this project which was expected to take place on Friday in one-on-one conversations.
Thursday was the day of the event. The event was split into four groups: site 1, site 2, bathroom, and trash pickup. Site 1 and 2 had to sand and repaint the picnic tables, scrub the BBQ stoves, cut down the tall grasses at a 10 foot radius from the BBQ stoves, cut down the tall grasses around the picnic tables, and cut down the tall grasses to provide a trail between site 1 and 2. Both of those sites were supervised by Jen and Stacy for the event. Dan was the supervisor in the bathroom and I was the supervisor for doing trash pickup around the picnic area. The bathroom needed an interior repainting job, general cleaning inside the bathrooms, and cut down the tall grasses around the bathrooms. My job task for the event is to pick up the trash and glass in the grasses and along the river. 75 people shown up for this event along with the high school SCA trails crew to assist us in this event. Its went pretty smoothly and we ran out of work to do by noon. It was fun to work with these Home Depot employees as they are hardworking and a social bunch. After lunch, Home Depot presented a check of 125,000 dollars to the SCA in a little ceremony. Senator Feinstein’s aid came to participate with us in the ceremony because of her allegiance to national parks and forests and wildfire prevention/suppression. It was a great day overall. Plus, now all its left is to cut down the rest of the tall grass and the burnt trees and the Wildwood Picnic Area will be open to the public! Yah!
Friday was a day to closeout the event done yesterday. We gather was tools and supplies we borrowed from the Little T Ranger Station and put them away over there. We gather what tools and supplies (in exception for the demolition project tomorrow) we had and put them away at the Chilao Station. Then we attended a BBQ by the high school SCA trails crew around noon and hung out with them. We later went to the library to do a little administration and outreach work for the event tomorrow. At Little T Ranger Station and at the Library is when we expressed our grievances about this project and about Pat in one-on-one conversations with Jill. She later talked to Pat once we arrived back to Wildwood for a few hours. It seems big changes will come around the corner
Saturday was Dan’s Stonyvale and Delta Flats Overlooks Demolition Project. Unfortunally if we did the site assessment yesterday, we would of known that it would be impossible to remove the barrier post cemented into the ground without using a jackhammer. So we just did trash pickup of trash and glass around the one of the overlooks with the volunteers for a few hours who came to us for this volunteer service day. We did a job closeout talk were we talked about what went successful and what needed improvement on for today’s event and Thursday’s event. We then moved back to Chilao Station and cleaned up the totes and cooler which marked the end of a long hitch.