Print Page

News.bytes graphic
America's Great Outdoors features a family paddling a canoe

News.bytes Extra, issue 491

Project at Santa Rosa Springs builds wall, relationships

Another great Service First effort helped stop erosion and preserve a campsite in the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument -- as staff and volunteers from US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Friends of the Desert Mountains and NorCal Youth Corps worked over the weekend of July 23-24, 2011 to build a retaining wall on Santa Rosa Mountain.

The wall was built to keep a camping area from filling in -- and will hold back a bank that is eroding away around the roots of some large trees above.  The builders hope the wall will save the bank, the trees, and the campsite.  The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). (text continues below)

people view the project area for the retaining wall, behind a large pile of concrete blocks
The blocks -- each weighing 84 pounds -- far outnumber the people.  US Forest Service Recreation Officer, John C. Ladley from the San Jacinto Ranger District, led the project with safety and construction procedures.

Even though there was smoke in the air from a distant forest fire, our higher elevation advantage awarded us mostly clear skies, fresh air and a beautiful recreation setting in the National Monument, which gave joy to all who participated in the work campout.

A diverse mix of youth and senior, male and female participants often leads workers on Monument project to cohere as a family like group that bonds together those who have worked on past projects, and warmly welcomes newcomers as they come and go. This group was no different. During the wall construction, most got tired and sore, yet everyone persevered to keep safe while happily meeting the objectives.

This enduring wall will be a testament for decades to come to hard-working agency and volunteer people who gave sweat equity for a chance to just be part of something special. Visitors to this remote mountain recreation camp will long retain the space to enjoy this exquisite site as the wall contains the bank behind it from eroding further.

workers assemble near a ditch at the base of a hill
This pre-dug ditch is where the approximately 72 feet long and 5 foot high retaining wall will be built. The blocks were also hauled up prior. Everything was in place for us as we prepare to begin construction early Saturday morning.

 workers with shovels clean out and level the bottom of a ditch
The first task was to clean out, level and tamp down the bottom of the ditch.

to men check laid blocks with a large level
Work began in the center where the first blocks were carefully leveled.

workers continue to dig and to lay blocks
Everyone was pitching in, especially in the tough spots.

MORE photos from the work project.

- Steven D. Harris, outdoor recreation planner, Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Palm Springs South Coast Field Office, 7/25/11

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 491 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page. 

Last updated: 07-29-2011