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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 357

Alabama Hills Spirit Day 2008

Even as the weather forecast called for rain, more than two dozen volunteers from Bishop to Lone Pine gathered at Lone Pine McDonald’s at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 4, 2008, sharing a free breakfast provided by owners Lis and Kevin Mazzu, before piling into cars and driving out into the Alabama Hills for the Alabama Hills Spirit Day. This annual activity, sponsored by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and the Lone Pine Film Festival, with the support of the staff at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), brings volunteers together for a day of cleaning up the popular Alabama Hills in anticipation of the Lone Pine Film Festival scheduled for the next weekend.

Juliette Nabahe's daughter helps hold a trash bag for loading

Armed with work gloves, plastic bags and plastic pails provided by the Bureau of Land Management team, the small volunteer army and BLM staff headed out to Movie Road in the Alabama Hills. They then broke into teams, to clean up numerous pre-designated camping and movie sites. Once those sites were cleaned, many of the teams could be seen spreading out to other areas and picking up even more trash.  Broken bottles, paper, rusty cans and various pieces of rusted metal were picked or pried from the ground and placed into trash bags.

Volunteers of every age pitched in. Two-year old Mackenzie Mazzu could be seen helping mom and dad during clean up even to the point of shouting out “Don’t crush the brush!” -- the slogan created by Film Commissioner Chris Langley to remind visitors to protect our native vegetation. Juliette Nabahe of Lone Pine could be seen holding the hand of her young daughter “Z” while carrying a trash bag in the other. Other times she could be seen walking around picking up trash with her baby boy DJ in a carrier strapped to her chest. When asked why she was participating, she said simply, “I just wanted to be involved with my community. I’m part of this community and I want to help keep it nice.”

Fathers were there as well. The father and daughter team of Norm Wilder and Autumn arrived early ready to work even though dad looked a little drowsy until his cup of McDonald’s coffee. Kevin Mazzu brought daughters Mackenzie and Coco with him as both he and wife Lis demonstrated to the girls that helping others is an important community and family value. It was that kind of example and commitment from moms, dads and the other volunteers that made Spirit Day a success.

Well before noon, the cleanup was done.  As everyone gathered at the Lone Ranger Canyon, BLM Recreation Planner Jim Jennings spoke to the volunteers, noting “There seems to be a lot less trash than last year, so it looks that our efforts are paying off thanks to all of you.”

As for the threat of rain? It turned out to be a beautifully sunny day…and the Alabama Hills was beautiful as well, especially thanks to the efforts of the volunteers.

If you’d like more information on the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, please visit www.AlabamaHillsStewardshipGroup.org.

Submitted by: Charles James
Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County
Lone Pine, CA

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 357

Last updated: 11-12-2008