Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Now that more than six tons of trash have been removed by volunteers from an area across U.S 101. from South Beach, the question remains what’s being done to keep it from being polluted again.

Following last weekend’s successful effort to clean up interconnected areas of illegal dumping across from South Beach, District 5 Supervisor Roger Gitlin released the final weigh-in numbers.

“It was 13,280 pounds, that translates to six and three-quarter tons,” Gitlin said, noting the cleanup was done at no cost to the county. “No county moneys were dedicated to abating this huge mess. It doesn’t exist anymore.”

The cleaned property is owned by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and has been used to hide illegal camping and littering for a long time. Gitlin said he was originally approached by Frank Kemp, with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, about the possibility of using volunteers to clean up the messes hidden in the trees behind the billboards.

To limit littering, Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Scientist Steve Burton said the department tries to post signs in the area, but they get torn down. Burton said he will be directing personnel to repost in the area soon.

Burton noted the property between the highway and the abused area belongs to Hambro WSG, so any Fish and Wildlife signs must be posted farther into the wooded area. He said the department is working with county staff and code enforcement to protect the marshy area east of US 101.

“There is no public use of marsh land, so technically, anyone who goes in there is trespassing,” Burton said.

Del Norte County has wardens stationed near Lake Earl who can respond to reports of illegal dumping or camping in the area. Call 707-487-0541 to report such activity or use the department’s CalTIP line, 1888 334 CALTIP 888-334-2258.

Hambro WSG General Manager Joel Wallen said some of Hambro’s property, which borders the Fish and Wildlife lands cleaned last week, still has some refuse.

“We still have a lot to do on our side,” he said. “We haven’t gotten our yearly cleanup of that area scheduled yet.”

Wallen said the date will be dependent on weather and available personnel.

To discourage littering, Wallen said Hambro properties are posted with signs, which gives the sheriff’s office the ability to enforce littering and trespassing violations there. He said littering, camping and break-ins are an ongoing issue on all Hambro properties.

Anyone observing camping or dumping in areas off U.S. 101 near Anchor Way may call Hambro’s security officer at 707-464-6131 ext. 332 or the sheriff’s office at 707-464-4191.

Other cleanups

Burton mentioned the recent cleanup of several sites in the Pacific Shores Subdivision, and the county/state partnership that will soon have a watchman station placed at Kellogg Road and Tell Boulevard who will contact authorities when suspected illegal dumping occurs out there.

Wallen noted the Ham Radio Club cleaned the east side of the roadway from Crescent Hill to town. Gitlin also noted that the Lion’s Club cleanup of U.S. 101 recently occurred.

Gitlin said by email later that Take a Bite Out of Blight volunteers have conducted 31 individual clean-ups since the private group was organized in May of 2013

“We are reaching out to help other groups like the Smith River Alliance conduct similar clean-ups. I understand there will be an organized Clean the Ocean effort headed up SRA Director Grant Werschkull for a June 9th event,” he said.

he said the group is also looking into cleaning up other local messes and asking the state Coastal Commission to relax requirements involving the use of heavy equipment to clean certain sites.

For information on how to take part in Take a Bite Out of Blight projects, call Gitlin at 707-951-6361.

For information about CalTrans’ Adopt-a-Highway program and how you can take responsibility for the cleanup of a particular section, call 707-441-2025.

Reach Tony Reed at treed@triplicate.com

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