We have been reporting for years about the efforts of law enforcement to rid the Mendocino National Forest in California of illegal marijuana grow sites. The Mendocino National Forest Grow-site Reclamation Project is partly financed through funding sought by the Lake County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Committee and the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew.
Abandoned marijuana grow sites on public lands cause devastation to local habitats. When law enforcement crews come in and raid a grow site, they remove the marijuana and the weapons, but do not have the manpower to clean up the grow sites that are often littered with trash, chemicals and tools like irrigation tubing. The astronomical budgets that allow military-like raids on these grows has led to frustration by environmental groups that say not enough is being spent on restoring these sites.
The Reclamation Project group, led by Bruce Hilbach is now organizing planned clean up operation powered by volunteers to reclaim the forest for hikers and recreationalists. The all-volunteer groups will be escorted by at least one law enforcement official at all times during clean up. They are taking volunteer safety very seriously.
The plan is for the groups of volunteers to hike in with trash bags and an officer, clean up the debris left over from the grow sites, then leave the trash bags on site to be picked up by the Mendocino National Forest Rangers. Many of the sites trash bags will have to be picked up by helicopter. They plan on beginning work this Thursday, January 5th, through Sunday, weather permitting. Interested volunteers should know that they do have positions for volunteers of varied physical strength and ability, so they are encouraging anyone who wants to help to contact them. If you are in the area, you can email Mr. Hilbach with your phone number contact to get involved. It is BEHILBACHB@yahoo.com