I grew up in the Santa Monica Mountains in Mandeville Canyon. As a little kid I explored the wilderness beauty in my little canyon, climbing trees, catching snakes and lizards, and getting many rashes from poison oak and bites from ticks. As I grew older and was able to explore farther away from home, my friends, siblings and I explored further west. We thoroughly explored what are now Charmlee Wilderness Park, Topanga, Malibu, Trancas, Zuma, Sycamore and many other canyons full of natural life and beauty. Most of the property we caroused in was privately owned at the time. When they caught us, property owners never complained of our trespassing because we always had a big load of trash that we had collected and were hauling off of their beautiful property. This was before the first official “Coastal Cleanup Day,” but we knew what needed to be done.
After working in watershed restoration in Northern California for 20 years, I returned to my old stomping grounds in 1999 to what is now the City of Malibu. Working with Heal the Bay, RCD, MRT, Tree People, Surfider Foundation, and dozens of other excellent environmental nonprofits, my co-workers and I accomplish amazing things improving Malibu’s natural ecosystems and human environments.
I find it puzzling that small cadres of people in Malibu who have never worked a day in their lives on watershed restoration projects continually get face time in local news media and Malibu City Council meetings as “environmental experts” spewing misinformation regarding wetland restoration in Malibu. I don’t get it.