Del Norters will have three opportunities to make their world a cleaner place this Earth Day.

Volunteers with the Surfrider Foundation Del Norte Chapter will collect trash from Pebble Beach and South Beach on Sunday during its annual Earth Day celebration. Members of the Del Norte Trail Alliance will work alongside the South Fork of the Smith River to brush and groom the Craigs Creek Trail. And the Tolowa Dunes Stewards will remove invasive Scotch broom near the old county landfill, Tolowa Dunes State Park and the Lake Earl Wildlife Area.

And if making the community a better place wasn’t incentive enough to lend a hand, those helping with the beach cleanup or Craigs Creek Trail work will receive a complimentary beer from Port O’ Pints Brewery, according to Joe Gillespie, founder of the Del Norte Trail Alliance.

“Anybody that gets out there on the trail and signs my list, I will be turning it into Port O’ Pints and everyone gets a free beer,” Gillespie said.

Craigs Creek Trail

The Del Norte Trail Alliance has hosted monthly work parties on the Craigs Creek Trail since its inception in January, Gillespie said. Volunteers have clipped back huckleberry, tan oak and salal bushes, removed small trees and have pulled up roots that obstruct the trail, he said.

On Sunday, volunteers will use loppers or clippers to cut brush back, Gillespie said. Those who would rather work with shovels should bring one, he said.

“There are a couple of places where tree root wads have created some issues with the trail,” Gillespie said. “I will guarantee that anyone that comes out there is going to have a good time.”

The Craigs Creek Trail starts near Second Bridge on South Fork Road and follows the South Fork of the Smith River for about three miles before following Craigs Creek, Gillespie said. There are redwoods on the trail, though not as stately as in nearby Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and a very diverse forest ecosystem, he said.

“It just changes from one tree complex to the next, so it’s really cool,” Gillespie said. “But it’s also an historic trail. I think it was built for mining purposes. There were trails all over the county that were built to mining claims back in the day and so I think this one was to access the mining claims on Craigs Creek.”

The Del Norte Trail Alliance formed to help the U.S. Forest Service as well as California State Parks and Redwood National Park maintain its trails, Gillespie said. Trail alliances and associations have been developed all over the country near public lands to help those agencies take care of their trails, he said.

“What the Alliance is really trying to do now is bring in volunteers, community partners, that recognize the value of our trails and our need to keep them open and accessible for people,” Gillespie said. “Some trails have so much poison oak that people that used to like to go there can’t. Other trails are closed because a bridge is out, and our coastal trail is an example of that.”

Gillespie said he finds out about trails in need of maintenance from talking with hikers or mountain bikers. He said he is pursuing grant money that would help the alliance purchase tools and establish spike camps for volunteers to perform more than 500 hours of labor on local trails.

The Del Norte Trail Alliance eventually hopes to add about eight miles to the Craigs Creek Trail that would allow hikers, bikers and equestrians to use it, Gillespie said. That extension would use an old stage road that goes up the Middle Fork of the Smith River and across the ridgeline from the South Fork, he said. The trail would also have a spur that would go north to French Hill Road, Gillespie said.

“(It) would be an exciting new trail for people to hike and that can only benefit our community in every way you could possibly think of,” he said.

On Sunday, volunteers meet at 10 a.m. at the Forks River Access and Boat Ramp on South Fork Road between Slant Bridge and Second Bridge. Gillespie asks volunteers to bring their own tools. Loppers, for example, are available at Ace Hardware for about $20, he said.

Those who arrive late can find the work crew by accessing the Craigs Creek Trail near Second Bridge, Gillespie said.

“I will be excited to see all the new faces out on the trail on Earth Day,” he said.

Two beaches to clean up

This year, the Surfriders Foundation Del Norte Chapter has partnered with the Local Boys Surf & Skate Shop to include Pebble Beach in its annual beach cleanup. A group of volunteers will also remove trash from South Beach as well.

“Our adopt a highway is from Citizens Dock to the Beachcomber,” said Rick White, owner of Port O’ Pints and a Surfrider Foundation volunteer. “But this time we’re doing Pebble Beach also.”

This year Shereen and Tom Tyrrel, owners of Local Boys Surf & Skate Shop, and other volunteers will remove trash on Pebble Beach from Hemlock Street north to the Point St. George area if there’s time. People are welcome to bring their own pickers and buckets, although buckets will be provided, Shereen Tyrrel said.

Those wanting to pick up trash in that area should meet at 11 a.m. on Pebble Beach Drive near Hemlock Street.

“Now’s a good time to come meet some good people and give back to the beaches that we enjoy,” Tom Tyrrel said.

More volunteers with the Surfrider Foundation will be at the other end of Crescent City picking up trash on South Beach. Volunteer Erika Partee said the group typically meets at 11 a.m. at the corner of Anchor Way and U.S. 101 near the picnic tables. Some folks grab their tools and head to the other end of South Beach to work their way north, she said.

“Our beaches are what bring a lot of people to our area,” Partee said. “And it’s Earth Day. (We) want to get out and clean them up, and it’s supposed to be really nice out.”

For more information about the Beach Cleanup, visit www.facebook.com/DelNorteSF/.

Broom Bash

With Scotch broom in full bloom, volunteers with the Tolowa Dunes Stewards plans to work on several restoration sites before the invasive plant begins generating seeds.

On Sunday volunteers will remove broom plants from 160 acres of county property near Old Mill Road that surrounds Tolowa Dunes State Park and the Lake Earl Wildlife Area.

This is moderate activity. Volunteers should wear closed-toed walking shoes or boots, dress in layers, wear a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses and bring water. Heavy snacks, gloves, shovels and other equipment will be provided. Those who have a favorite hand saw or other tool should bring that as well.

The Broom Bash is 1 p.m.-4 p.m. starting at the Lake Earl Information Center, 2591 Old Mill Road, near Crescent City. For more information, call Sandra Jerabek at 707-954-5253.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

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