U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 332


Mustangs, Volunteers Help Clear Public Land Marijuana Gardens

Faced with the daunting task of hauling marijuana-growing debris from the rugged, steep and brushy slopes of  North Cow Mountain, staff at the Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office last week turned to America’s Living Legends, adopted mustangs, for some much-needed help.

The BLM staff needed to remove thousands of feet of plastic irrigation pipe, fertilizer bags, plastic sheeting, metal and camping debris from eight marijuana garden sites where as many as 5,000 plants were seized in a law enforcement raid two years ago.

The area which lies in Lake and Mendocino counties was much too steep and the trails far too narrow for pickup trucks and ATV’s, so wild horse adopters Kenny and Bev Klee of Redwood Valley rode to the rescue with their mustangs, Keno, Ranger and Casey. (text continues below)

From right, adopted mustangs Keno, Ranger and Casey wait to head into the back country.
From right, adopted mustangs Keno, Ranger and Casey wait to head into the back country.

Over two days Kenny and Bev, members of the Mendo-Lake Unit of the Back Country Horsemen of California, used their sturdy horses to haul the debris out.
 
Below, Kenny and BLM Park Ranger Larry Ames, right, carefully pack debris so that it can be secured to the pack frames. In the second photo, Kenny weighs a bag as a first step in balancing the load.
The horses' owner and a BLM ranger pack debris so it can be secured to pack frames
Owner Kenny weighs a bag as a first step in balancing the load.
 
Below, Casey checks out the load on his back as Kenny secures a pack on Ranger. In the second photo, Kenny and Bev lead the horses along the brushy trail. Casey gets a much-needed drink on a hot spring day.
Casey checks out the load on his back as Kenny secures a pack on Ranger.
Kenny and Bev lead the horses along the brushy trail.
Casey gets a much-needed drink on a hot spring day.

Marijuana growing on public lands is an increasing problem in Northern California, posing dangers for public land users who might stumble across heavily-guarded gardens (a hidden assault rifle was discovered at one of the gardens cleaned up last week).  Compounding the problem, growers leave behind piles of trash that mar the landscape and often contribute pollution to streams.

Last week’s cleanup, funded by a special allocation from the BLM, focused on garden sites at South Cow Mountain, where the BLM manages a popular off highway vehicle area, and at North Cow Mountain, an area set aside for “non-motorized” uses including hiking and hunting.

In addition to support from the Klee family and their mustangs, the BLM received help from Leroy Chase and his son, Lorne, who own property adjacent to North Cow Mountain.

- G. Sharpe and J. Fontana, 5/08

 

BLM California News.bytes, issue 332

 
Last updated: 05-21-2008