Bike Trail Cleanup draws more than 100 volunteers to Saturday event
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: November 20, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Santa Paulans turned out in droves at Saturday’s special Bike Trail Cleanup, sponsored by America in Bloom with assistance from the city.
“We had a great turnout,” said AIB Board Director Gary Nasalroad who organized the event.
There were “About five different youth groups,” that met Saturday morning at the Gazebo as well as representatives from “most of our section adoptive groups,” that are responsible for upkeep along different stretches of the approximately 2.5 mile trail that ranges from 12th Street to Peck Road.
The Optimist Club, Ashley Nichols, America in Bloom, Shilo Perez and Kathy Splies of Santa Paula Hairdressers, Future Farmers of America, Odd Fellows, and the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club had all adopted stretches of the trail.
Nasalroad said there were more than 100 people who volunteered Saturday, mostly students as well as “Several teachers from the high school who kept the youth groups together. We also had individuals that care about the path, that like to walk, that showed up and wanted to help out.”
Preparation for the trail work was overseen by Nasalroad who spent hours with city Interim Recreation Director Ed Mount going over the path and its needs.
Nasalroad admitted the large turnout surprised him as did the results of their efforts: “At first I thought with all those people it was too many but what an underestimation.... we could have had another 50 or 60 and not finished!”
He estimates about 75 percent of the cleanup goal was completed and the city provided a skip loader with a lift to haul off the bags filled separately with trash and clippings.
“I couldn’t believe it, we must have had 200 bags of stuff,” taken from the trail.
Nasalroad would cruise the path on his bicycle and kept in cell phone communication with Mount about what was needed during the cleanup, and garnered some insight on what is needed for the next event.
“These young kids were really eager beavers, some worked without gloves- we had rubber gloves but next time we’ll have gardening gloves for them-they just worked so hard and seemed so pleased with the work they were doing!”
That included removing some plants along the Barranca portion of the trail that had been trampled by kids cutting across a portion to take a shortcut to the high school, leveling the ground and spreading groundcover to make a path.
Water fountains and utility posts were cleaned and painted and other general maintenance tackled.
Overall, Nasalroad said, “Dianne (AIB founder) and Dudley Davis,” owners of DoRight’s Plant Nursery, “and our AIB group was very pleased with the results.”
Nasalroad said the path will be revisited by cleanup volunteers an effort that “Would warrant a good twice a year cleanup, maybe more. This one was the most detailed and difficult and once we get it all done it will be more easy on the maintenance side of it,” including for those organizations and individuals who have already adopted portions of the trail for monthly grooming.
This effort was more ambitious: “We made sure the deer grass near the intersections,” was thinned by the city prior to the event and now the trees that look like they need water or even appear dead will be examined to ensure there is no irrigation system failure.
Human failure will also be tackled: “We talked about putting up more signage to encourage people to pick up after their dogs,” as well as adding more plastic bag dispensaries and waste bins.
“I think we’ll also make an investment on an inventory, a reasonable number of hand cutters, shears and gloves,” for the youth that volunteered that did not have equipment.
Said Nasalroad, “If they’re going to be there to help us we will make sure we have the proper tools for them. I brought some of my own tools and they were well taken care of and returned to me at the end of the day. I’m sure whatever we purchased would be handled responsibly.”
Santa Paula High School drew volunteers from the Agricultural Science Academy and Future Farmers of America, AVID program, Human Services Academy, SESPEA Club and the Key Club and Nasalroad said elementary schools including Briggs also helped.
And at noon when the cleanup session ended and volunteers met back at the Gazebo, “We treated them to pizza, and with all those kids,” laughed Nasalroad, “it was a lot of pizza!” served with gratitude for a job well done.
The approximately $4 million trail was dedicated in February 2012.